Readings: Ezekiel 37: 1-14, Psalm 130, Romans 8: 6-11, John 11: 1-45
We make short trips into space, visit the moon, and drive cars around the sun (at least “Starman” does). We wage wars on nations from the comfort of our thrones, presidential offices and parliaments. We communicate with people around the world as if they were standing right next to us and we communicate with the people standing right next to us as if they were all around the world. We are finding more questions to ask the numerous search engines that seem to draw us together in a strange, directive kind of way and we are discovering that everybody has their own answer. We have an insane amount of opportunities to develop conspiracy theories from what our neighbours are doing to control the rotation of the moon to what the Illuminati are doing to control human history.
In all of our folly and in all of our wisdom, in all of our weakness and in all of our power, we have come to realise that our existence is fickle and there has to be more to it than getting from one day to the next, from one big exploration or discovery to the next, from one cup of coffee to the next. In all of this, when the doors are locked for fear of the virus, we discover that we exist to love and we exist to be in community. We want to protect those we love and our hearts break when someone we love succumbs to the illness. A tiny little virus like the Corona virus has changed the world by making it even smaller than the World Wide Web has made it. It has forced the world to its knees in a matter of months and it has forced all nations into isolation. It has crippled the world of business, with even the experts in fiscal policies unsure of how the markets will be affected. Even worse, it has forced men and women the world over to do that stuff that they have been getting around to doing in the house for ages and it has increased the price of toilet paper many fold. We have come to fear each other, not because of race or because of age or because of gender but because you never know who is carrying and spreading this tiny little virus that yields so much power over the human race.
Our response to this universal pandemic is mind blowing and it is easy to see how so many would say that with the power it yields; it has to come from God, but it cannot come from God because there is no death and illness in the Kingdom of God and God does not delight in illness and death. Jesus would not be able to defy the Father by healing the sick and raising the dead if death and illness came from God. God is not afraid of death as we are not afraid of death because it is the doorway through which we pass to enter into the fullness of God’s presence. God would be more heartbroken by the fact that we never learn to live before our death than by our death itself.
God is present in the redemption of what we have broken though. God is present in this global pandemic and His presence is known in the way in which businesses are assisting governments and the vulnerable in this time. God is present in the way that the medical and pharmaceutical industries around the world are sharing information and not holding onto it for the sake of profit. God is present as churches the world over are realising that putting measures of social distancing and sanitizing in place or that the closing of churches to stem the spread of the virus is not a test of faith, but an opportunity to lower the infection rate and give those with the gift of healing time to find a cure. God is present in the way we care for each other (even if that means we choose not to meet in this season because that is the most loving thing to do) and our caring for each other and helping stem the spread of the virus is our worship to God. God is present in the virus as one person shops for a neighbour whose immunity is weakened. God is present in the realisations that our existence is about community and compassion, about living and not survival. God is present in the grace we experience as we rethink what church looks like and how we are together the body, the Church. The virus might not be from God, but God will be glorified through it.