I tried to attend our small group on Sunday. We talked Coronavirus instead. Then I went for a hike…thinking. I talked with several people. I watched the news and heard the governor speak. I read emails from friends about how to be safe, what vitamins to take. Jan and I spoke about our situation and if we should practice greater social separation. We prayed as suggested by our president. I saw a powerful posting on Facebook about the influenza panic of 1918. Tonight, we listened to the Sixty Minutes presentation on the pandemic. And the result?
First and foremost, I want to learn something from this experience. I want to be intentional in so far as that is possible. I want to be less critical realizing that most people are trying to do the right thing. I want to practice common sense. I want to be grateful for those health workers who put their lives on the line. I want to know if God has a message for me (or as a nation). At the same time, I realize I have little patience for stupid, generally hate bureaucracy, and want to punch someone making political points out of this crisis. I wonder about all the needs of our nation and suddenly, and with bi-partisan support, we can come up with eight billion dollars when a few people died, while on average there are 20 plus veterans that commit suicide daily. We have an opioid crisis. We have kids locked or separated from their parents on the Southern border. Just saying…
I am not fearful nor am I worrying or losing sleep. We have food in the house, gas in the vehicles, money in the bank. Yesterday I sneezed several times in a row, common for me, and wondered if that was the start of the virus in my body. This evening I was eating Doritos and started to cough. Jan looked at me suspiciously. Can I live normally at a time like this? I am sure that is possible. What is the learning? What is the message? Or is it just a matter of trust (Jeremiah 17:7)?
There are ten passages I found in scripture that talk about plague or pestilence. It appears God uses this means as punishment. In the Biblical stories, it does not just happen. It also appears that God’s people are often the ones that rise up, pleading for the people, and God then, and only then, stops the plague.
I just finished a book entitled Climate Church, Climate World (How People of Faith Must Work for Change by Jim Antal. I find it fascinating that this is a global pandemic. It is not limited to one nation. I certainly am not making any claims about the purpose of this Corona virus nor what is the best way to stop it, nor that it is related to our stewardship of the Earth. However, it might be wise for us, as people of faith, to at least ask the question IF there is a message therein, and what the message might be?
Perhaps you have read a common Facebook posting by CS Lewis regarding the atomic bomb. I paraphrase the posting and put in the words ‘Corona Virus.’
“How are we to live in a plague and virus infected age? I am tempted to reply, ’Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed , as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of motor accidents.
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before Corona and quite a high percentage of us are going to die in unpleasant ways. We have, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors…anesthetics. This is just another option for death in a world which already bristles with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
Should the virus coming knocking on our door, let it find us doing sensible and human things; praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint, not huddled together like frightened sheep.”
Stay safe, Best…Always, Lou