Lection Connection

October 18, 2020: Known by Goodness and Mercy

Fraser Macnaughton
While the world continues to struggle to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, we sometimes forget that all the other diseases and viruses in the world have not gone AWOL. Some of the more sever still kill large numbers of people, imprisoning whole populations in an endless cycle of illness and, all too often, death. 
One of the most deadly of these diseases is malaria, which affects many communities, especially in poorer countries. One might expect that with the high profile of Covid-19, other illnesses and their treatment would suffer. However, in an encouraging sign of peoples’ resilience, it was recently announced that more than 90% of anti-malaria campaigns planned this year across four continents are on track. Innovative moves continue to happen across Africa, such as Mozambique’s launch of a new spraying campaign in rural areas, while the Kenyan government has announced it is removing the tax on sales of mosquito nets. (In Kenya, 30% of hospital patients have malaria.) The World Health Organization says 90% of malaria deaths occur in Africa. The delivery of insecticide-treated nets (more than 200million) and the provision of antimalarial medicines was still on track to be distributed across more than 30 countries in Africa, and more than 20 million children in 12 countries across the Sahel are expected to receive essential antimalarial drugs. 
While some countries, previously malarial, have reported no cases in recent years, other places, such as Zambia, still report malaria as being the number one killer disease by far. It is encouraging, therefore, to see that despite the strain created by Covid-19 on local health services in these poor countries, the recognition of the long-term eradication of malaria is still in everybody’s sights. And, as medical professionals and NGOs learn how to manage the new virus, there is recognition, too, of the importance of collaboration in healing and restoring communities. As Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, stated, “We must use Covid-19 as an opportunity to learn lessons to improve collaboration and innovation, as well as set our ambitions higher for achieving zero malaria.” 
Explore…Exodus 33:12–23
  • Can you think of ways to remind your faith community of the host of diseases and viruses that affect community life beyond the immediate focus of Covid-19. 
  • Can you highlight some of the dangers of over-consumption of 24-hour rolling news during this pandemic? Or are we so addicted to it?
  • How has the current pandemic brought your community closer together?
  • In what ways can you explore the interconnectedness and shared experience of this pandemic amongst so many different communities across the world?
The psalmist wrote “goodness and mercy shall follow me all my life”(Psalm 23). May we work together to play our part in bringing that goodness and mercy to all communities across the world. Amen.
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