Recently a small group of us came together through Zoom and studied, God and the Pandemic, a new book written by English New Testament scholar and Anglican bishop, N.T. Wright. In many ways, we are still reflecting and learning from this in-depth teaching and I believe each one of us is still being stretched by what is presented in this short book.
This study encouraged our faith through what has been and continues to be a time of questions. Questions that we are asking God and asking one another about the ramifications of COVID-19 on our personal lives, our relationship with God and others and how it has affected almost every aspect of life here and around the world. This journey is not over.
Sharing good news in difficult times is sometimes likened to walking in the desert and one thirsty person telling another thirsty person where to find water. So, we decided to share some of what we have learned hoping that it will refresh your faith in our God who promised. “Believe in me so that rivers of living water will burst out from within you, flowing from your innermost being, just like the Scripture says! (John 7:38 TPT)
What an honor to think that God has called Eden Church for this particular time and this particular place to make His great love known.
Peace to you,
What We Learned About God & the Pandemic:
· God did not send COVID-19 as a plague
· The New Testament insists that we put Jesus at the center of the picture and work outwards from there.
· Instead of asking why something is happening, ask “Who is going to be at special risk, what can we do to help and who shall we send?” (we learn this from the church in Antioch).
· God’s kingdom is all about restoring creation the way it was meant to be – God’s people bring God’s Shalom
· Be courageous, be faithful to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
· Don’t focus on “end times” strategies
· Trust in the sovereignty of God
· Let the Holy Spirit in us focus and drive our attention and energy
· God has a special concern for the poor, the sick, the outcast, and the slave. This is one of the central teachings of the Bible
· The Kingdom is to be restored by God’s people doing God’s work on earth
· The Christian response to COVID-19 that all Christians can participate in is prayer
· The Beatitudes are not about ethics but about mission
· The followers of Jesus are called to be people of prayer where the world is in pain
· One third of the Psalms are lamenting that things are not as they should be. God is the midst of our suffering and hears our laments
· “Now that everyone is thinking of death rather than wondering what cupcake to buy, perhaps there will be a turning to God.”
· The line good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people is not our reality. The wicked are flourishing, the righteous are crushed. It’s only when the poet goes into God’s temple, that a larger, healing viewpoint can be glimpsed. This is where the church comes in – Psalm 44
· In the middle of that, God’s people need to love our neighbors and insist that we do everything we can to protect and care for them.
· Whenever anyone tells you that the coronavirus means that God is calling people to repent – tell them to read the book of Job. The whole point is that that is not the point.
· The lesson of John 9:1-3 – Jesus said he wasn’t sick because he nor his parents sinned. It happened so that God’s work could be seen in him. All about how you handle it and what God’s going to do about it.
· Think carefully about what you and your society should be repenting of. He says in Matthew 24:6 don’t be disturbed, the end is not yet. If people had paid attention to that we would have far less alarmists, teaching about the “end times.” Jesus himself is the ultimate sign and focus of our lives.
Let us pray with the Psalmist
Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. 4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.
5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Psalm 43:3-5 NIV