For the last five months we are going through ‘unprecedented’ experiences in our life. We never thought that our life will be changed, and we have to succumb to such a situation of chaos. When we face a situation such as we are facing today, we will naturally experience fear and worry, and our first response may be to turn inwards in panic and self-interest.
‘Living with viruses’ is the real challenge our life. The recurring question that comes to our mind is ‘How long’? No clear answer. We have moved from a stage of ‘I know’ to ‘I don’t know’; nothing is certain. Everywhere an ‘uncertainty’ rules our life. The only answer is to ‘live with faith’ in the midst of uncertainties. Never ever forget the foundational Biblical truth that God the Creator, God the Redeemer and God the Sustainer, God the Sojourner is there with us. Yes, God as Emmanuel and Ebenezer is with us.
God created the world with His words and humankind with His hands. God created a world that he declared to be very good: a world in which people and the wider natural order exist harmoniously in the presence of God. Relationship with God, with others, with ourselves and with the rest of creation is central to God’s loving purposes. God has created a world where all things are interconnected, and there are natural consequences when those connections are broken. We must believe that suffering and sickness is not what God has intended for his creation. Rather it is to recognize that the brokenness of creation, and systemic and personal sin, are contributing factors in the rise and spread of things that harm us all.
As hard as it is to hear, the outbreak of COVID-19 is not a ‘natural disaster’. Rather it is a disaster of our own making. As we disturb ecosystems, viruses are disrupted and look for new hosts. It is the consequence of the social and structural legacies of broken relationships with God, a distorted understanding of self, unjust relationships between people, and exploitative relationships with the environment.
God intervenes to restore the brokenness of creation and put them back to the divine position and purpose- a plan that ultimately finds its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. This plan fulfilled in Jesus Christ is redemption. Redemption is promised to all creation through Jesus Christ. The mission of God is to redeem and restore the whole of creation, and the church, as the body of Christ, has a vital and distinctive role to play in fulfilling this mission. We are to follow Jesus in showing God’s love, bringing healing to a broken world and responding holistically to people’s needs: economic, emotional, spiritual and physical, both locally and globally.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, said that if we look inwards, we ‘will only reveal the limits of our own resources and lead to deeper fear and selfishness’, but that ‘to console others, we must find our own consolation in God’. It is through coming to God that we ‘will find the means to console the frightened, the panic struck, the panic buying, the fearful and all those around in whom alarm is rising’.
As parish, let’s pray and worship God continuously. God is with us, who understands our suffering, accompanies us through it and asks us to bring our fears and worries to Him in prayer. Let’s hold our hands with our children and direct their paths with love, wisdom and knowledge. Let’s console the bereaved families with words and prayers of consolation.
Blessings to all,