Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Isn’t it amazing how often scripture speaks directly into our lives and the current realities of the world around us? Paul wrote these words, inspired by the Holy Spirit, nearly 2,000 years ago, and yet they are exactly what the Spirit knows we need to hear today. During this time of isolation and physical disconnection, we need to remember that we are “united with Christ,” that we find “comfort from his love,” and that we can still be “one in spirit and of one mind.” You are not alone. You are not isolated from Jesus or from his people. What we have temporarily lost in terms of physical presence, can be replaced, maybe even surpassed, by the spiritual connections we share in Jesus and through the abiding presence of his Spirit.
This is also a time to remember that we need each other, and we need to look after the interests of others. No, you can’t knock on a neighbor’s door or give someone a reassuring hug, but you can make a phone call or wave across the sidewalk or send a note of encouragement through the mail. And you can pray, lifting up neighbors, friends and family members. This is a time to find new (or maybe old) ways to care for people from a distance.
I believe God will bring good out of this hardship. He will show himself to be powerful and merciful. He will use his people to bring compassion and hope to those who are hurting. He will enable us to rebuild what now seems lost or broken. God works in his world through his people, so we can be confident that when the time to rebuild and restore comes, God will use us to do that life-affirming work, within the church and in the community around us.
Father in heaven, thank You for the comfort I find in knowing Jesus and the hope that comes from Your presence in my heart. Give me strength to care for others, and show me ways I can spread Your love to people in need. I ask this through Jesus my Savior. Amen.