In these strange times, it has become an evening routine for me to check the latest COVID-19 statistics for Australia. The statistics are fascinating and horrifying all at once. I start by looking at the numbers of new cases in each state to understand the current trends across the nation. Then I drill down on the NSW numbers to find out what is happening closer to home. How many tests were conducted today? How many new cases are from overseas travellers in quarantine? Where are the latest hot spots? How many new cases are linked to known outbreaks? And perhaps the most worrying statistic that I check, is the number of new cases not linked to any known outbreak.
I don’t take joy in this process but there is some comfort in knowing the government is doing their best to track cases, inform people of results and advise on best practice to not pass on the COVID-19 virus. It is amazing to see how a simple chain of events can spark a wildfire of contagion across the city. Perhaps I am just getting old, but I am also shocked to read of how many venues contagious people seem to visit in a single night out! It is a stark reminder of how interconnected we all are and how we can impact each other on a daily basis through simple interactions that we would normally not think twice about.
It has occurred to me that we are all “contagious” all the time. We are contagious in a medical sense, but we are also contagious in our values and Christ-likeness. The simple daily interactions we have are an opportunity to pass on the virtues that Jesus calls us to by the manner in which we speak, listen and behave towards each other. In this way we can be “contagious” in a positive sense, treating others as Jesus treats us.
In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus calls us to be “salt” and “light” in the world.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
While theologians point to various analogies of salt related to its use in ancient times, it is clear that Jesus wants us to make a difference to this world. Treating each other with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love can be contagious with eternal significance!
As "light" we are to illuminate or make visible. When we love others as ourselves, and we serve each other, we are shining lights. It is important, however, to know that it is not our light, but the reflection of the Light of the world, Jesus Christ Himself, that people will see in us.
What will the people we interact with daily catch from us? What opportunities do we have to be contagious in a way that makes a positive impact on those around us and brings honour to God?
Head of Secondary Years