One and All,
So here we are, day five of the First Congregational Church of Kent COVID-19 Lockdown! One of the questions that seems to be on everyone’s mind is, how long is this going to last?
The honest answer, of course, is that nobody knows. I sometimes say that there are two kinds of men, those who admit they know nothing about women, and liars, and some of that skepticism applies here. Given how much we don’t know about this virus, anybody who says they know how this will all work out is at best mistaken. That being said, I’ve seen two scenarios written about pretty frequently over the past week or so, and I think these give us some insight into what might happen.
The first scenario is what you might call the “quick and nasty” scenario. In this scenario, new infections skyrocket during April and into May, with up to 75% of the population in some areas contracting COVID-19. Then, sometime in May, the infection rate declines precipitously, largely, I guess, because everyone who can get sick already has.
The second scenario is the “slow and long” scenario. In this view, the infection rate climbs much more slowly, but goes up for a much longer period, in some estimates through July and even August, before it gradually starts to decline. Many fewer people get sick, but much of daily life stays shut down until late summer or early autumn.
Personally, I don’t know how this is all going to turn out, but I do know things. First, once this is all over, things are going to be . . . different. Whether things start reopening in June or in September, shutting down much of the country for that long is going to change things. Our lives, our communities, our church—everything is going to be permanently affected. We can’t just assume that when things reopen life will automatically go back to the way it was in February, only warmer, because that’s not going to be the case.
The second thing I know, and this is by far the more important of the two, is that whatever happens, none of us will face it alone! We will have each other: our families and our friends, those people who know us and love us, who will help us face whatever it is we need to face. We also have our First Congregational Church, because, and I’m going to keep on saying this for as long as we’re shut down, our church buildings are closed, but the church is not! We will continue to worship, to pray, to study, to meet, to do so many of the things we’re always done together. Sure, we will be doing them differently, but the important thing is we’ll be doing them. And finally, whatever we face, we face it in the presence of God. As I mentioned in my sermon on Sunday, I don’t think God is responsible for this pandemic, but I do believe God is active in the midst of it. I believe God is with us, with all of us; with us to inspire us, to comfort us, to support us, to help us navigate whatever we face in the coming weeks and month, and to see that we get safely to the other side.