COVID-19 and FEAR
Do you feel a bit upside down and out of sorts?
It is like we are having to re-learn how to do everything all the while maintaining the appropriate "social distance" please stay 4- 6 feet away from the Screen! Everything seems harder and scarier and despite my best efforts to put a good face on I am already starting to miss going for coffee and just being with people.
Then there are the worries. There is worry about this economy-what does it even mean for business to be suspended and no large public gatherings for several weeks. Even Major League Baseball is cancelled.
The Dow is down but that will come back-right? Just tell me it will come back.
With business as usual suspended what is to become of those who can't go to work? Just when will all of this end and how will the world around us be changed?
The other question I can't help but asking is who is at fault for this? Who sinned-who messed up-who caused this?
And then starts the blame game.
It was President Xi & the Chinese government's secrecy. No-it was President Trump for not responding properly. No-he is doing a great job. No he is not he is doing a terrible job?
Maybe we blame all the people who are not social distancing aggressively enough.
Fear grips us. Fear divides us. But we know who the author of fear is-that is right could it' maybe be Satan? Fear does not come from God. But still we ask, like in the gospel reading, who sinned?who is to blame?
Jesus says we are not about that blame we are not looking at Presidents Xi or Trump or the WHO or the CDC or even the people going out to whatever bars and restaurants they can find open. As tempting as it is to find someone-anyone-to blame Jesus calls us into a better way.
In a story from John 9 the religious leaders are asking who sinned that this man was born blind? Jesus says that this is an opportunity for God's works to be revealed. Jesus is not just talking about any kind of work being done. Its not like God is picking up a shovel and digging a ditch.
The word Jesus uses is"ergon" and it speaks of the covenantal life giving work that God is doing. This is the work God did with Abraham,Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. This is the work God is doing when he sent his son Jesus to destroy the power of sin and death and fear. It is into this work that we are now called into- even in the midst of our fear.
The Lord is our Shepherd our guarder-our protector-our comforter. We need not be gripped with fear. This is the moment fo-the church to be Jesus' hands and feet to be the Body of Christ.
Let me tell you a story about another global pandemic. In the 3rd century AD the Roman Emperor is Julian, no not Julius Ceasar. Julian is no fan of the "Galileans" as he called Christians because they followed the man from Galilee. The Plague of Cyprian, so named for the Christian bishop who recounts the tail for history, is running wild. It is a disease probably related to ebola. This plague of Cyprian helped kick off the crisis of the 3rd Century in Rome.
The economy was weak and people were literally dying in the Streets. As the Romans fled the infected areas leaving the sick, the hungry, the poor, and the weak to die the Galileans-Jesus' people- refused to give themselves over to fear and leave.
The Galileans stayed. The Galileans looked after the sick, the hungry, the poor, and the weak. Even as the Emperor Julian complained bitterly abort the Galileans and their efforts they kept going. The Galileans steadfast response ever in the midst of fear.
This is who we are as followers of Jesus.
I can't tell you not to worry. Worry is natural. BUT I can tell you that Jesus is here with you
Jesus totally has this and are a fair number of Galileans who have.got your back.