Confronting the pandemic
Some might wonder why I use the words “confronting the pandemic” when it seems, in actual fact, the pandemic is confronting us! I use the words I do because I believe most surely we are neither helpless nor without resource.
In their place and time in history, Judea was confronted by a foreign occupation (and a brutal one at that), by the dictates of strict religious authority, the penalty of death for moral transgression, poverty, oppression, incurable disease and deadly and destructive inequality. And in the midst of all of this, an itinerant preacher captured the confidence and trust of a longing, searching people with his appeal:
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's domain there are many way stations. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go ahead to prepare for your coming? And I will come and meet you at each place along the way, that wherever you are, I may be with you.
(One of his disciples said to him, Lord, we do not know where you are going. How will we know the way to go?)
Jesus said to him, I have shown you the way. I will come to you; I will not leave you desolate . . . and because I live, you will live also. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
This is not alone a simple call to faith. It is a call to know that we are neither powerless, nor alone. This is Jesus giving absolute assurance God is with us, giving strength when we are weak, and bearing us in a love that fear cannot withstand. And when we look at our generation, with such vast medical resource and competence, unmatched powers of communication, enormous capacity for innovation and creativity, and a manifest goodwill of so many to care for neighbour, known and unknown alike, we are ages ahead of Jesus’ generation in our capacity to confront coronavirus. We are ages ahead.
So let’s link arms and watch out for ourselves and for each other, and live the words of Christ we hold in heart and soul and strength. Let not your hearts be troubled.
And God be with us!
Jim (Rev. James McKnight)