Today marks the one year anniversary since the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus to be a global pandemic. Few people anticipated the unprecedented impact the virus would have on every country in the world, on virtually every city, every neighborhood, every family and individual. With millions of lives lost, livelihoods affected, and many people continuing to suffer physically, emotionally and spiritually, it has been a year that has taken a great toll across the globe.
In the midst of the many challenges that came with the pandemic, however, there have been countless stories of hope, compassion and sacrifice. From churches opening their doors to serve as improvised hospitals, to Christian leaders working together with governments to distribute information, food and medication to vulnerable communities, to congregations coordinating shopping trips for the elderly and volunteers calling and praying for lonely and isolated people amid the lockdowns.
“The pandemic has brought a lot of grief and it has served as a reminder of the fragility of human life. But confronted with foundational questions of life, many people have found new or renewed hope in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the eternal life he offers,” said Bp Dr Thomas Schirrmacher, Secretary General of the WEA.
“The anniversary today falls into this year’s Lent season, the forty days leading up to Good Friday and Easter, when Jesus Christ died on the cross and resurrected to life. Many Christians use the Lent season to reflect on the suffering of Jesus Christ as he walked on the path of the cross,” Schirrmacher said, and added: “As WEA, we encourage churches and individuals to use this time for renewed prayer for an end to the pandemic and for the hope of resurrection to overcome the suffering and grief that many experienced throughout this year.”
For the week leading up to Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter), the WEA together with partners prepared materials for a week of prayer. Following daily themes, the prayer guide includes Bible passages, prayers and reflections for each day starting on Monday, March 22nd, up to Saturday. The prayers include lament, prayers for hurting & suffering communities, for those in leadership, for healing, for protection and prayers of hope. The resources for each day will soon be available on the WEA Covid-19 website, covid19.worldea.org, for those who would like to join.
Dr David Boan, who heads up WEA’s Relief & Development Coordination Center and who has led WEA’s COVID-19 Task Force since its formation one year ago, commented: “As followers of Christ, we are reminded of the hope and assurance we have received through his death and resurrection. We pray that this Lent season and especially the week of prayer could be a time where many will be comforted and also comfort others. Just like the Apostle Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”