There is nothing like a crisis to bring out the best and the worst in people. In the extremities of life we find out who we are. We are hearing and reading many stories of heroism and egotism in this time of pandemic. “Every society tells stories,” writes Jonathan Haidt, “and those stories involve good and evil, and these stories call us together.” They also send us out. They are stories about “moral leadership” which manifests in acts of wisdom and compassion. These stories make clear that “we each of us get to provide this kind of leadership.”
This is a time when the church can demonstrate moral leadership as love in action, by being present in crisis. The prophets and John the Baptist proclaimed the kingdom of God, and in Jesus the kingdom became present. “If the church is the bearer of the presence of the kingdom though history,” writes Leslie Newbigin, “it is surely not as the community of the righteous in a sinful world.” The church is perhaps at its best when it ministers out of its weakness and brokenness into the world’s brokenness and need. We are reminded at this time of how weak and broken we are, and how God manifests his love in our brokenness, his power in our weakness, for ourselves first, and then to the world in which we live and are called to serve.
Following are a few stories of love in action, of God working his love through us and for us, as we are present to the need around us.