On a socially distant visit to Ms. Nelle Rose Beverly’s house, the staff and I failed to notice a red cloth tied on the front door. Nelle Rose pointed out this decoration and explained its theological significance. The bright red strip of fabric reminds her of the blood on the doorposts of the Hebrews’ homes that marked the first Passover (Exodus 12:13). With their doors marked in this way, the Hebrew people made a sign before God and one another of their trust in the Lord to protect them.
Nelle Rose also mentioned that she has another red cloth tied to her bedroom window. This cloth is inspired by Rahab from Jericho, who in the face of impending destruction of her city, demonstrates bold faith in the God of Israel and trusts in strangers for her protection (Joshua 2:21). Like the blood on the doorposts in Egypt, this cloth is a sign of faith and trust in salvation in the face of calamity.
In so many ways, the Coronavirus crisis feels like a terrible plague and the collapse of society as we know it. More than simple decorations, Nelle Rose’s red cloths are sacramental signs that communicate her faith in God even during this difficult time. I hope you would find inspiration in Nelle Rose’s prayer against the evil of contagion and you would feel the presence of the God who promises to be with us in the midst of crisis. I pray that this disease would pass over you and your family and that you would feel loved by the family of God, called the Church”