If you are anything like me, you will be watching with horror as the number of coronavirus cases in the US continues to surge. As a British Christian living in the US, and having spent the first two months of lockdown in the UK before returning to Alabama, I have observed first-hand the different approaches of the two continents.
Here are my ideas for three ways that Christians in Europe can pray for America.
1. Pray for a universal healthcare system
Unlike European countries, America has no universal healthcare system. Many US workers have no choice but to work and keep their businesses going. If they don’t, they will lose their employer provided healthcare in the middle of a pandemic when they might need it the most. I have American friends who know it would be more sensible to stay at home to prevent the spread of the virus, but who must work. It would be terrible for them to lose their income, healthcare and to then contract the virus. Pray for a more equitable healthcare system across the US that shields and protects the most vulnerable. Pray too for kind and wise employers that will allow their employees to work from home as much as possible
2. Pray against fake news
In the UK, our media and politicians are doing a fantastic job of keeping everyone up to date with the latest scientific developments regarding Covid-19. For instance, most Brits are aware of the R, or Reproduction, number, and the importance of it for government decision making. It has been monitored closely for months and is regularly discussed on the news. In the UK, research into the ways that the virus spreads and who is more vulnerable are regularly shared. This allows everyone to make sensible decisions about how to protect themselves and their communities. Regrettably, information coming from the government and media in America is minimal and dumbed down. Pray that trustworthy information about the virus would be widely circulated and that Americans would be empowered to make prudent decisions.
3. Pray for a change in culture
Americans value their freedom, however the notion of freedom in popular culture has become tainted. The understanding of it as a virtue that benefits whole communities has been lost and it is often limited to a form of personal isolation and selfishness. In other words, it has become the freedom to do what I want, with minimal regard for others. This is seen most clearly with the reluctance of some Americans to wear face masks and to stay at home to prevent coronavirus transmission. They wish to exercise their right to go out and socialise, even though this evidently spreads the virus and could cause harm to others. I have written before about the odd way in which Americans show their patriotism while appearing not to like each other very much, there is a desperate shortage of solidarity. Pray that all Americans would value the liberty of others as highly as their own. May they have a fuller vision of freedom that ensures everyone can live without fear of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Anna Townsend is a Brit living in America. This blog first appeared on Dislocated Christians and has been republished here with permission.
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