from our e-newsletter(Mailchimp)
So, how do you feel about Covid-19? There is a veritable spectrum of feelings about the virus, pandemic and how it is handled. I think the general feeling for everyone on that spectrum is frustration. Actually, I’ll adjust that. There are many who have lost friends or family members to the coronavirus, in America, and around the world, even here in Japan, and for them, I doubt frustration is the primary emotion, for them this has hit much harder. For me, I’m lucky that my family and friends haven’t contracted the virus.
In Japan, while new virus cases are very low, people are still worried. Businesses and schools are slowly opening up, and documented cases are being tracked, by all accounts things are moving in the right direction. Hey, I can even watch professional baseball on TV! Go Go Swallows! In spite of this, churches are trying to navigate the ever murky waters of Japaense social etiquette. Being a group culture that values an un-rocked boat and perceived purity, potential disease carriers are looked at somewhat similar to Old Testament lepers. That’s an overstatement but you get what I mean. Even doctors and hospital nurses are facing discrimination because they are suspected of covid-19 transmission. Even their kids are told not to attend preschool! So the church is being especially careful to avoid the perception in the community that they are being selfish or careless, and many churches in Tokyo are still using Zoom rather than in person services.
But there is hope on the horizon! Our church group is discussing returning to in-person meeting in July, and the church plant we are working on is using a hybrid format. Things are slowly moving to a delicate new normal.
Please pray for the church, as they seek to grow a witness with the people in Japan, and are able to reach out in love even while trying to be seen as socially responsible in this scary season.