Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Dear friends! We are on a day with 30.000 confirmed cases of the Corona virus in Germany. So far, 160 people died here. The number will be rising, since it is known that severe cases come after 2-3 weeks after infection, and infection cases just went up, basically doubling every 3 days.
How are people reacting to the corona crisis? Many countries today have shut down their economy and social life, with implications to all of us. The reasons seem clear to those who are carefully looking at the situation: before hospitals become overloaded and the whole health system collapses, states and communities try to limit or damp the spread of the virus.
What is YOUR role and situation? …
There are many who suffer already, since many shops and all theatres and pubs and cafes are closed. How to earn the money now, which you need? Some others are overloaded with work, since the need to organize many things when people are suddenly teleworking, meetings cannot be held and the chains of supply are changing.
It seems that times of crisis give a push to typical reaction patterns. People who have been solidaric before, are more solidaric in times of crisis. People who have been ignorant to others are ignorant the same way in times of crisis. Perhaps we are all more sensitive in times of crisis, and realize things in a slightly enhanced way?
These times, churches are closed. That does not mean that Christian communities would be less active in mutual support and community. Streaming of worship services has been adapted by many churches within days. Via various online tools house groups and youth groups are meeting day by day, and people are exchanging their thoughts. Encouragement and solidarity is active in Christian circles and communties, as it always has been!
At the same time, we are scared by reports about people dying in difficult circumstances. It can and should cause fear, when we are faced with sudden death by a virus infect in our neighborhood. Some of us work in hospitals, some are linked to people in those regions which are affected strongly and where intensive care places are missing. Death is coming to some of us.
God in Life and Death …
The pandemic virus infection puts our focus on things we often try to ignore. We usually do not think too much about our own death nor about the death of people in our environment. And we do not want to think about death all the time - we would be blocked to live our life, with all the beautiful things on this planet.
Yet, the bible tells us to think about the fact that we are going to die. We should take this into account, when we live our life, when we plan and act and talk. The New Testament offers us a framework for life and death which gives depth and perspective to each and everyone of us, to the young as well as to the old people!
The framework consists of faith in Christ Jesus, in faith and trust to the father and the son and the holy spirit. God has created the earth. He has imposed death on it. And he is offering a community of trust, truth and hope, which also provides a perspective beyond death.
You might doubt that the God of Jesus exists. That is the standard mode of life for too many people. It is criticised by Jesus himself, he calls it stupid, and he is sad and cries about the fact that humans love what he calls “darkness” more than the “light”. We hear of tears about the choices of humans, who do not realize the love of God, nor his presence, nor the perspective of deep life he gives to us.
There is the invitation to discover faith in God through Jesus. It is the old invitation by the New Testament, by Jesus himself, then by the apostles and evangelists. It is the invitation to trust all what you have and what you are into his hands. Here, you discover a love beyond all you have ever experienced. There is a trust and community, the community with the holy spirit, with God himself.
The community with Christ Jesus can help you to stand firm in times of fear. It can help you to make sustainable decisions of solidarity in times of struggle. It is the only consolation which can be with you in all times of loneliness and isolation, since God does not know walls and limits. He is there, right where you are. You can talk to him, pray to him, listen to him, here and now. (Roland Potthast)