Call me a sorehead, but there’s something that bothers me.
Now, I need to offer this disclaimer: I’m not minimizing the tremendous sacrifices and over-and-above dedication of our nation’s first responders, doctors, nurses, scientists, firefighters, and countless others who are working way too long for way too little reward in the midst of our coronavirus pandemic. Along with pharmacists, researchers, even news reporters, they are helping us keep a horrible situation from getting any worse than it is.
Whenever I see a PSA (public service announcement) thanking those on the front lines and listing them by profession, I have yet to see pastors included in any of those lists.
Once again, we in the religious/spiritual community are overlooked. I should be used to it by now, but it still gets in my craw. Perhaps it’s because the work pastors do is so far behind the scenes that they are easily overlooked. But I submit that pastors are every bit as important in the fight against COVID-19 as anyone in those lists that appear on billboards, on TV, on the radio, or in print or social media.
To those families who have suffered the loss of someone to this dreadful disease, the pastor offers comfort, spiritual healing, and hope. Perhaps the family would even invite the pastor to officiate at the deceased’s Service of Death and Resurrection as another way to provide spiritual restoration.
To those who may have lost their jobs because their place of employment has been deemed “non-essential,” the pastor offers assurance that God is able. Possibly the pastor could even refer the person to new possibilities for employment.
For families within the community who find their supplies nearly depleted, the pastor is able to offer food and other necessities from his or her church’s food pantry.
For people who find their spirits falling in a downward spiral, the pastor offers strength through prayer and through the encouraging words of scripture.
For those fortunate enough to have Internet service in the midst of increased need, the pastor offers weekly encouragement through the Sunday morning live-streamed (or recorded) sermon based on God’s Word.
People can arrange to meet with their pastor for personal counseling, references, or just a momentary pick-me-up. Pastors are on call 24/7/365, which is actually more than most medical professionals.
So I wish to put in a good word for pastors and others who provide spiritual sustenance in times like these. Most would probably not worry about not being included in the publicized lists of groups being thanked in the media, but I definitely think they should be.
Why is the religious community almost always overlooked when so much wonderful work is being done there? I think it’s an indictment on our society.