About the Author

Patricia Raybon, an award-winning author and journalist, grew up in a time of hate, but found God's love in a time of need. Serving from Colorado, she writes on faith, race and grace -- seeking to inspire healing in Christ. Join her on the journey at patriciaraybon.com.

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  1. Patricia,

    Most of us have never lived through anything like Covid before. Being shut in with just your folks & wearing masks all the time is new & hard. Everyone misses their normal. Children especially wish to see their friends & run outside. The elderly need us to come visit them. We were made for community. We are not islands out there all alone. We need other people to do life with. Some at my church have been sending out cards & calling others to check on them. I can’t wait to see my tribe again & maybe give an elbow or fist bump to. For me loving on people is something that comes naturally. I long to talk with & hug my church folk & others.
    Wanting community to love on others.

    Blessings 🙂

    • I’m feeling the same way, Beth. We all are, I believe. Ironic, isn’t it, that revive our communities we have to behave “like community”–with everyone doing their part to flatten the curve, not just for oneself. But for everybody. The Lord is teaching us many lessons, indeed, during this unusual moment on history. Praying His love and kindness on you and yours in the meantime. Peace and love, Patricia

  2. I moved to Colorado from another state to be near my daughter after my husband died and 3 months later, the virus struck and the isolation began. On the upside, because I moved to a condo of 55+ folks, I was able to begin to make some friendships before the virus and was able to join the local hiking group here. So, once a week we gathered, safely of course, kept our masks on and stayed 6 ft apart, as week hiked various trails around the area. This weekly gathering saved my sanity along with weekly zoom church and bible study. How fortunate that I was able to connect to a church before the pandemic hit. And, any day the weather warmed up, a small group of women where I live gather at picnic tables on the premises for lunch and a little conversation (yes, with masks and keeping apart). I am blessed. My heart aches for those who have be truly isolated and have an empty seat at their table without the benefits of a goodbye. As I make plans to someday gather with my family, share a meal, lots of hugs and look in faces without masks covering them, I hope to never take for granted the gift of a smile and conversation with another.

    • My condolences first, Madeline, on the loss of your husband, especially so close to the start of the COVID pandemic. Your story deeply resonates, indeed. (I live in Colorado, too, so I can visualize your hikes along various trails.) You’re so right, meantime, that we’ll never again take for granted the gift of a smile and conversation with others. Meantime, I’m so struck by the Lord’s mercy in leading you to join a weekly Zoom church and Bible study. Our church in Denver offers the same and, for a year, we’ve been so blessed by this faithful ministry at such a challenging time.

      May the Lord continue to bless and keep you during these days, and may we rest in His promise to send his goodness and mercy to follow us always. His wonderful blessings on you and your family, indeed, during all of your days. With His love!

  3. Amen, as always, Patricia! I would not have expected to read a “vaccine + community” post this morning :), but I’m glad I did. Interestingly, we (my husband, daughter, and I) experienced the same sodality and solidarity when “vaccining.” Who would have thought? Everyone was so friendly, kind, and accommodating, from those organizing us into groups and leading us down hallways, to the medics who gave shots (informing us thoughtfully, fielding questions, and allaying fears), to the nurses who observed us for the requisite times to note reactions, to the shot-ees. We talked. We laughed. We shared (masked, of course). I was so touched by it all, and knew we were doing “something holy,” as you say. On the home-front, we three (our daughter is on furlough as an educator, living at home) have had each other for fellowship, and we’re grateful. We all love being together. We certainly miss our extended family, church family, and friends, but we’ve had each other, and, blessedly, our needs met, so we’ve not felt deprived of relationship (we also thank God for frequent over-the-fence and distanced walks with neighbors and Zoom technology, another interesting gathering place). But you highlight here another important kind of gathering—that of extended “community,” of which we are all a part. There is something significant about relating to those not under your roof or necessarily who have your interests, but who share your humanity. It’s about the community at-large pulling together in a common cause greater than the individual (oh, with our rugged American individualism, we often forget that)! “Community” involves *involvement,* risk-taking, sacrifice, and compassion—putting others first, which is really the message of Christ. Mother, at 90, has amazing memories of this community solidarity during WWII. Her young brothers listed in the AF and Marines, risking their very lives and mental health (my uncle injured in Iwo Jima was never the same, having watched his young buddies at seventeen being blown to smithereens; he never talked about it, but it changed his personality completely and led to his alcoholism to drown out the horror). Her dad picked up hitchhiking soldiers and brought them home for one of Grandma’s delicious hot meals. People bought war bonds. Mother’s dresses got shorter, because there were fabric shortages. Everybody was in it together, and they pulled together in love and courage. And, as an aside, she even told me yesterday that at eight, she and her little friend took a city bus together to a location to get vaccinated (she can’t recall for what), and their photo landed them on the front page of the local newspaper! Admittedly, she said, she was more excited about the publicity than the benefits of the shot on their community :), but the point was that everybody was doing her part in whatever disease they were preventing. Doing our part. Loving others more than ourselves. Yes, Patricia, being vaccinated, while benefitting oneself, surely benefits others. I think many Christians are forgetting that (all legitimate hesitancy aside; I totally understand the thoughtful reasons you cite). But many are not listening to medical experts, studying statistical responses to vaccines, not studying statistics about new virulent variants, and rather listening to conspiracy theories about vaccines and the like. One of my beloved family members *honestly* thinks that micro chips are in the vaccine needles and being inserted into bodies as a way to surreptitiously track people! This is wrong. Getting vaccines is not just about one’s one health, but about loving one’s neighbor. Vaccines are a good gift from God which He equipped experts to create, and one to be received with joy. Thank you for doing your part in a practical way and now, through your wise words. You remain such a light in dark places!
    Love,
    Lynn

    • Your mother’s memories and stories! Oh, my goodness. They’re so wonderful, especially in the context of community and people pulling together for a bigger cause. I didn’t understand it that way when, as a child, I received the polio vaccines. It’s been disheartening, therefore, to see conspiracy theorists convince otherwise intelligent people from heeding CDC guidelines and getting their shots. May God lift His people above the lies and, at the same time, rebuild our communities one heart at a time. Thank you, in the meantime, for always doing your part to teach and heal! With His love!

  4. I wish that everyone could read your post. What wonderful words of love, and what better way to show God’s glory than by caring for everyone in our communities.

    • Amen, Maura. Thank you so much for affirming my humble message today. May the Lord use it to encourage, inspire and warm our hearts to care for each other. With His love and blessings!

  5. Thank you Patricia. I love what you wrote: “We get community right if we do what Jesus asks of all of us – Stop talking and start loving” I have a bad habit of talking and talking and talking and not listening… and when I don’t listen I can’t love!
    Wonderful message \0/

    • I hear you, dear Janet! Talking is easy. But, oh, the listening! (Not to mention the loving that should follow.) May the Lord bless and guide us all to hear better and love more. Thanks so much for affirming that path. With His peace and joy today, Patricia

  6. Beautiful thoughts! Wow, you live in an amazing community to have vaccines to come to your church! It’s almost impossible to get a vaccine in my city. Those in my church are trying to help each other find a place to get one. We feel truly blessed to be able to register for an appointment. Someday we’ll be able to meet together again, too. Thank you for your words of encouragement!

    • Blessings on you, Barbara, and may your wonderful church family find success in helping each other find the vaccine and stay informed. Somehow in my city (Denver), the hospitals realized early that churches would be some of the best places to distribute the vaccine. As well, our pastor is very involved in community outreach. So, he was one of the first to hear about the opportunity.

      This whole COVID situation has really taught and reminded me of the importance of people helping each other. We simply can’t make it alone. God intends for us to connect and work together. What an important lesson for all of us to learn. Be encouraged, indeed, as the Lord blesses the efforts at your church with His mercy and help! He is still good! With His love!

  7. This is so timely I’m lonely bc I’m single with no family at home Covid has made it very difficult. I zoom which helps but I don’t have close peers and you can’t meet anyone new.

    • My heart goes out to you today, dear friend. I pray right now that the Lord leads you to a faithful and honorable Zoom church and Bible study so that you can connect with others. To join the (in)courage online Bible study, Courageous Simplicity, go to this link: https://incourage.me/courageoussimplicity

      I believe there’s a way to connect with groups who are working through the study. When you sign up, please ask about that. (I’m asking on your behalf right now, too. I’ll circle back with an answer.)

      Meantime, I pray the Lord’s connecting power on your behalf! With His love!

    • Oh A, we hear your heart and you’re always welcome here at (in)courage. It’s not the same as gathering in person, but you’re sure welcome to sign up for our free Online Bible Study as we work through the Courageous Simplicity Bible Study in a Facebook group with hundreds of sisters in Christ! You can register at incourage.me/courageoussimplicity. Thank you for sharing so vulnerably this morning.

  8. Patricia,
    What a wonderful article and extremely timely! I am waiting for my turn to receive the vaccine. Looking forward to being able to go back to church and be with people again. This was an excellent point, “it’s about being educated about what others are going through and then caring enough to join with them in their struggle.” We do need to care about where other people are and listen to them intently; this is how we show true love.

    • Your kind feedback affirms my humble message with such beauty and grace, dear Doreen. Like you, I pray for the day we’re able to return again to church, family and friends. In the meantime, I’m grateful to learn the lesson of what it means to care for others beyond myself. I needed to learn that! With peace and joy today, Patricia

  9. I got divorced 2 months before the pandemic and moved about 1,000 miles away for a new job and I hadn’t found a new church or met anyone outside of work and I live alone. I got a different new job almost 6 months ago and I work from home, I don’t really know my new co-workers. I’m grateful for my health, a good job, and a nice place. If it was just being divorced and starting over, there would be some loneliness in that but it also being a pandemic and not being able to meet new people, well, let’s just say it’s not what i expected. Somedays I miss really being able to connect deeply with people and feeling like someone understands me. Most of my friends are married and have kids and they complain about being trapped in with their families but how blessed they are to be surrounded by people that love them and that they love!

    • What a challenge, dear Kimberly. You’ve been through a lot in the past year. My heart goes out to you in this time of isolation and risk.

      I pray right now that the Lord leads you to a faithful and honorable Zoom church and a Bible study so that you can connect with others. To join the (in)courage online Bible study, Courageous Simplicity, go to that page on this website.

      I believe there’s a way to connect with groups who are working through the study. Meantime, I pray the Lord’s connecting power on your behalf! Nothing is too hard for Him. So, thank you for sharing your situation with everyone here. Many will be praying for you. In the meantime, I pray the (in)courage Bible Study gives you a way to start getting in the loop with people again. May God bless you well in that community. Much peace and many blessings, Patricia

    • What a challenge, dear Kimberly. You’ve been through a lot in the past year. My heart goes out to you in this time of isolation and risk.

      I pray right now that the Lord leads you to a faithful and honorable Zoom church and a Bible study so that you can connect with others. To join the (in)courage online Bible study, Courageous Simplicity, go to that page on this website.

      I believe there’s a way to connect with groups who are working through the study. Meantime, I pray the Lord’s connecting power on your behalf! Nothing is too hard for Him. So, thank you for sharing your situation with everyone here. Many will be praying for you. In the meantime, I pray the (in)courage Bible Study gives you a way to start getting in the loop with people again. May God bless you well in that community. Much peace and many blessings, Patricia

  10. We have been fooled to the degree of this Covid pandemic. It’s all part of the Biden Administration/Bill Gates/Fauci, new world reset! We need to once again live like the Free Country that we are & stop this power & control this Administration longs for.
    Christ is our Leader & King
    ✝️

    • Hi Ann,

      I’m not totally sure what you mean by your comments. Nevertheless, let’s play this out: no matter where Covid came from, even if you think there is some dangerous man-made threat behind it, Covid is still a threat. And our response no matter that What, The Who, the When of a global disease should be to show the love of Christ and to care for the people around us, as Patricia challenges us to.

      Your response shows a lack of love to the people around you. Hundreds of thousands of people have died. That’s not just some political conspiracy. Let’s all do better at having a posture to mourn, lament, and care for the hurting and vulnerable in our midst.

      Michelle

      • Michelle,

        This was my favorite part of Patricia’s (in)couragement:

        “Community, it turns out, is not about just hanging with perfect folks who look, walk, vote, and think like us. It’s about people who will struggle with us.”

        Your comment expanded on it. When we understand what community is for/about, we can thrive together.

        Thank you so much!
        LCB

    • Ann, while you’re welcome to express your own opinion here—after all, my veteran husband is one of many who took an oath and sacrificed so that those in this country could have freedoms that those in other countries don’t—I encourage you not to make the expression of your own opinion in a comment your end goal. It’s fine to have your opinions, of course, but sometimes expressing them for the sake of expressing them gets us nowhere. At best, it comes across as insensitive, and at worst it totally shuts down dialogue. You’re right–Jesus is King, and He leads us in the way of sacrifice over self.

      Just some things I’m truly pondering for myself as much as anyone.

      Patricia, thank you for these always-needed reminders to cherish our community, to do what we can to preserve our community, and the important of modeling Christ’s way of sacrifice over self! You’re a gift to our state (#ColoradoGals!) and this world!

      • What a wise reply, Kristen–and a profound reminder for all of us, especially in this age of social media. These forums should be about connecting and sharing (and, indeed, about connecting and sharing in the way of Christ). It’s heartbreaking to see views here that dismiss the pain and loss of 500,000+ Americans, not to mention ignoring the grief of millions of loved ones left behind.

        Those COVID microbes, meantime, don’t care one vaccinated bit about politics or opposing views. The Lord, however, cares about how we treat one another. Thank you so much for demonstrating His love to all, even to me. I’m so grateful for you! Peace and love, Patricia (#ColoradoGals!)

    • Thank you for sharing a different perspective. Sadly it is clear from the responses that many will automatically assume your comment means you lack love and compassion instead of considering the bigger picture. Love is all things Ms. Raybon wrote about; love also warns and those warnings are not always popular because we are in a spiritual battle that is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6: 10-13

      The book of Revelation warns us about religious and political powers that has and WILL persecute the people of God at the end of time. Deception is everywhere which is why Jesus warned his disciples to be as shrewd as serpents and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16). Our world is changing and part of that change is laying the groundwork for a One World Religion. The reason I mention this is because many believers will go along with this religion because of ‘love and community’ and fear of being seen as divisive. Maybe, just maybe, love is not just about going along with the narrative/majority, but also about warnings, instructions and encouragement to prepare and guide us safely to live in perfect harmony in the new Kingdom. Let us pray for each other, like Elisha prayed for his servant, that God will open our eyes to the supernatural activity all around us. (2 Kings 6:8-17).

  11. I love this so much, Patricia!! Thank you for sharing your gracious wisdom with us!! It’s been eye-opening (and sad) to see how people’s responses to Covid-19 have often been based solely on their experience with it. IF they weren’t impacted by it, they didn’t think they needed to be careful — until they got sick and then regret set it.

    “Community, it turns out, is not about just hanging with perfect folks who look, walk, vote, and think like us. It’s about people who will struggle with us… it’s about being educated about what others are going through and then caring enough to join with them in their struggle. It’s saying no to hateful actions like anti-Asian racism and violence, and saying yes to seeing the pain of those around us and finding ways to be with people in the struggle.” Amen and amen!!

    • Your feedback means so much, beautiful Renee! Thank you! I was trying to say something uplifting about community. Thanks so much for affirming my humble message. With so much confusion and lies swirling around about the virus and the vaccines, I’m so grateful you understood my intent–to say community matters and we can all do our part.

      God help us, indeed, to help His people hear His truth and reason. His blessings as we seek to serve! His peace and joy, too! xoxo

  12. Thank you for the encouraging words. Yes, we become as one when we struggle together; but, most of all focus on the love of Christ.

  13. Thank you for your encouraging words. Community is at the core of our humanity, love is what holds it together.

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