In these uncertain times, many people, including the church’s hierarchy, experience uncertainty, doubt, times of questioning, discouragement, panic, fear, depression and hopelessness, but Anglican Bishop Reverend Laish Boyd urges people to encourage others in the battle against COVID-19.
“Let’s be encouragers, so that others may find the grace to carry on,” says Boyd.
And whatever people may think or how they may feel about the restrictive measures put in place as the country tries to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, Boyd says people have to acknowledge that the daily spike in cases over the last few weeks, calls for a strong response. At the same token, he encourages people to not be discouraged and to press on.
The Bahamas had 1,531 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of yesterday, including 880 on New Providence and 507 on Grand Bahama.
Double digit cases have been recorded on Bimini (45), Abaco (44) and the Berry Islands (14). Cat Island has recorded eight; Exuma, six; Inagua, two; Eleuthera, four; and Andros, one; with 20 locations pending.
The country has recorded 22 deaths, four non-COVID-related deaths, 209 recovered cases, 61 hospitalized cases, 1,296 active cases and 8,320 tests completed.
“We have to flatten the curve and get the virus under control in order to allow businesses to resume fully and to revitalize our economies,” says Boyd, bishop of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. “We also need to stop the spread and to rebuild our local economies to ready ourselves for full reopening of our borders. Our tourism industries have ground to a halt and we need to be in a position of readiness for the safe restarting of that industry. Both of our economies depend heavily on this. Failure to resume could spell disaster.”
In the face of coronavirus challenges, Boyd says the church must press on.
“It is difficult and challenging for us all. Honestly, we must admit that, but let us ask God for grace to carry on and believe that we are here in this time, and in these circumstances, for a reason. In the situations of life, we often ask, ‘Why me?’ or ‘Why now?’ or ‘Why this?’ God can use us where we are for his purpose, and has a role for each of us even in the midst of the pandemic.”
Boyd urges people to support the systems, mechanisms and the frontline workers during this pandemic.
“Pray for them all; encourage and support them at every opportunity.”
He also urges people to follow protocols.
“We are all tired of restrictions and protocols, but they are important. When more people in more places practice more protocols, that increases the safety net because it limits widely the opportunity for the virus to spread.”
He reminds people that they are all an important link in their community, island, national and global chain, and as such, urges them to increase their passion and ramp up their fervor in observing the protocols – wearing masks, social distancing, washing/sanitizing hands, staying at home if they do not have to go out, wiping down highly touched areas, seeking to build up their immune system, staying in if they have cold/flu symptoms and encouraging everyone whom they meet to do so as well.
The Anglican bishop says these simple practices remain vital as people seek to protect others and themselves and to make the world safer. He said doing so is putting into practice in their everyday lives what the Bible says – love your neighbor as you love yourself.
“One of the reasons that we are in the serious predicament that we are in is because many of us have not been following the protocols – especially the wearing of masks and social distancing. Let’s correct that and encourage others to do so. Lives depend on this.”
He says while the events and circumstances of our time are startling and alarming, God is not surprised or alarmed.
“Lesser mortals than you and me have trusted in him down through the ages, sometimes in even more disastrous circumstances than these. So, let us trust in God now more than ever before.”
Prayer, he says, is important.
“When we pray, the comforting presence, the almighty power of God, comes to bear on the circumstances of our lives in transformative ways. Let’s not pray only for ourselves and our troubles, but for others and what they are going through, for governments, business people and ordinary citizens and residents everywhere. Remember that our worst day is someone’s best day, and there are some really worst days out there,” he said.
The Anglican bishop urges residents of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands to pray for each other as well as other nations, as they all face the adversities, challenges, pressures and the systematic injustices brought on or highlighted by the pandemic.
“The old gospel hymn says, if we ever needed the Lord before, we sure do need him now!”
Worldwide, there were 22,244,179 confirmed cases and 783,525 deaths.
The Anglican bishop encourages people to try to do the things that are right in the circumstances of their everyday life.
“Do some tangible act of charity for someone, to lighten their burden and to lift their spirits. One part of right action that we cannot forget is making good decisions with our resources. Let’s try to save and to stretch what little that we have. Let’s not be wasteful or extravagant. Let’s plan for the long haul rather than just thinking about tomorrow.”