In case you did not see this lovely article, I’m reposting it here…
24 Hours in a Pandemic Nation
A pastor without a congregation.
The sky was still dark when the Rev. Rob Lee sat down at his desk, picked up his fountain pen and began to write.
Even in normal times, Mr. Lee, 27, is an early riser. But in the weeks since a pandemic put an end to all routines, including Sunday church, he has been waking up earlier and earlier, no need for an alarm.
He thinks about his congregation of about 50 regulars and the “collective pain” shared across the world right now. He thinks about his wife, who lost hours at her marketing job. He thinks about his mother, a hospice nurse. And, if he is being honest, he thinks about himself, his own mortality. A year and a half ago, a lung collapsed during an asthma attack, leaving him especially vulnerable to the outbreak.
A few weeks ago, as the crisis intensified, he issued an online callout for prayer requests and offered to send handwritten letters in return. So far, he has received more than 300:
I am alone in California and far from family.
I just lost my job today.
I feel lonely and unsettled in these times.
Mr. Lee, a descendant of General Robert E. Lee who once made headlines for speaking out against white supremacy and Confederate monuments, sees the current crisis as another pivotal moment for the country.
Writing back to the supplicants has become both a grounding ritual to calm his own anxieties — and a small act of resistance.
“It’s a sense of, we’re going to show up,” he said. “The coronavirus is terrible, but it’s not the fullness of who we are as a people. It’s not the end of our story.”
— Sarah Mervosh
Published April 4, 2020 Updated April 5, 2020