In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic an expected level of fear has hit globally. Here in the Bahamas people have been stocking up on medications, especially vitamin C, hand sanitisers and cleaning supplies in order to shield themselves from contracting the virus. While the nation takes the necessary health and hygiene precautions to defend itself from COVID-19, a local Anglican priest urges the nation to be prayerful and to put into practice faith over fear during this time.
The Rev DeAngelo Bowe, pictured, rector of Holy Spirit Anglican Church, in his sermon on March 15, urged his parishioners that while protecting themselves from COVID-19, they must hold fast to their faith and not replace it with fear. He asked the church-goers the question: Fear or faith, which one will you allow to be the dominant figure in your life?
“I have always been a firm believer that as a man who believes in God, faith is what I turn to. In moments of crisis, in moments of disaster, I turn to my faith,” said Father Bowe.
While faith is a vital component in the Christian’s life, especially now, Father Bowe pointed out that “faith without works is dead.”
“It is God who has given man the knowledge; it is God who has given man the ability to find cures and vaccinations. All things come from God. But faith without works is dead. So, why are we in the midst of fear when we have already been instructed by the physicians, who God has inspired, and who have told us what to do,” he said.
In practicing faith, Father Bowe said,one must adhere to the health and hygiene guidelines outlined to prevent the transmission of the virus, such as the proper washing of hands.
“In the midst of this new thing, it is time for us to pray, to go to God in prayer and ask Him to keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls as we practice proper hygiene,” he said.
Anglican churches in the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands have temporarily suspended church services, Bible studies and meetings for a period of two weeks, starting from Thursday, March 19, in order to comply with social distancing. This was noted in a pastoral letter from the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands, the Rev Laish Boyd. The matter will be evaluated before moving forward, he said,
In the letter, Bishop Boyd also said that the coronavirus is “upsetting and frightening, but scripture challenges us to ‘fear not.’”
“This does not mean that we must not or will not be afraid, because fear is a normal human reaction; it is an unpleasant emotion caused by danger or threat. ‘Fear not’ means that we must not be overcome by panic, hysteria and the loss of control. Why? Because God has given us cognition, learning and wisdom to moderate and subject fear, and that is what we must employ in this challenge,” said Bishop Boyd.
As the nation comes to grips with the reality of the coronavirus pandemic, it is adopting the principles of faith versus fear that will sustain us.