We can hang onto Jesus with the right hand, grasp our brothers and sisters with the left, and take one bold step into the gathering gloom of Holy Week. That’s what Lent has always been about. That’s what it’s about now, amid a global pestilence that stalks in the darkness.
With all this grief, on a societal level perhaps not seen since 9/11 or the stock market crash of 1929, we pastors and other church staff sure could use more ministers. For Baptists, this shouldn’t be a novel idea.
No, the COVID-19 virus is not some kind of divinely unleashed pestilence to punish us. But what seems clear is this: It is not the disease itself that has revealed our sin, it is the ways we have responded that have condemned us to our current misery and suffering.
More than simply being an entertaining way to pass the time, these fictional accounts of murder mysteries and crime dramas can help us ponder more deeply our own fears, hopes, vulnerabilities and values.
Sit. Breathe. Breathe deep. Breathe deep the breath of God.
The coronavirus pandemic, like the handwriting on the wall in Daniel 5, has interrupted our nation’s imperialist and idolatrous banquet of materialism, racism, white religious nationalism and militarism that Martin Luther King Jr. prophetically identified as lethal threats to the country and the world.
The story of Lot and Sodom is relevant and timely, if we see it as a story of radical hospitality.
Every day brings increasingly urgent instructions to retreat physically away from others. While that is a physical necessity, a corresponding relational move toward others is a massive opportunity to show the difference we make in our communities.
If we truly enter into the “Common Weeping” during this time of tragic suffering, we can be saved from our cruder emotions. Instead of airing our grievances, let’s uncover our griefs. The first destroys community; the second builds it.