“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26)
As we continue to be affected by concerns about coronavirus it is very easy for us to feel disconnected at this time. Across the world many, if not most, of us are confined to our homes, unable to go out except for a few necessary trips. We are separated from friends and family, only able to keep in contact by phone or perhaps video call. Even the most introverted of us long for some human interaction. We are disconnected from one another in so many ways.
Yes, at the same time, I would argue that we are never more connected than we are now. Yes, the disconnection is very real and very difficult. But the connection is also very real too.
We are connected because this is a global problem. It is not isolated to one country, one continent or one corner of the globe. We are all in this together. We fighting the same issue as people in China, Canada and Cameroon. We are standing together with folk in Italy, India and Iceland.
Coronavirus has highlighted that we are a global community. Not least through the worldwide travel that has made it difficult to trace and contain the disease. We are deeply connected with those around the world, and they are connected with us. Whether we think that way or not, this current situation has shown us that it is true. We are a global community, and we need to continue to think that way after this crisis is over.
After all, the global connections will continue after the immediate medical crisis has passed. The economic effects of a pandemic are yet to be fully understood but it is clear that we are deeply connected across the world in this way too. Our connection with those in different countries does not stop when the virus goes away (however long that might take). Those connections exists, as they have always existed. We are connected with one another.
This current climate has also highlighted our connection with those closer to home. “Stay at home,” is the message we hear from the government, “and save lives.” At the heart of the government message is a fundamental truth: what I do affects others. The poet John Donne said “no man is an island” and we have had that vividly illustrated for us over recent weeks. My actions affect others; my choices can put others at risk or keep others safe.
Christians have known this for a long time. The Bible uses the image of a body to describe God’s people and one part of that image is the interconnectedness of the body’s parts. If one part of the body hurts, the whole body hurts.
This connectedness is what we are experiencing as a society. It seems to me that the church is uniquely placed to speak into this and value it. One of our tasks as God’s people, when the crisis is over, must be to hold on to this and continue to be connected to one another.