Christians’ Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

[ 0 ] July 12, 2020 |

Reflection

     Dr. B. P. Khanal

A ‘worth-reading’ article was recently posted on the official Webpage wall of Tear Fund.  The piece of writing leads its readers to learn a right answer of the questions: “Why is this happening? How should we respond? [And] Where is God in this situation?”[1] This generation of humanity including you and I, perhaps, have not experienced such a time like this. Now, our past, the time prior to Corona Virus become a huge threat to all people, has become a bedtime topic for storytelling. Life matters for both whether you are rich or poor, whether you are counted among the highly learned ones or the ignorant of far remote world, whether you are a powerful or weak person. Life is the eyes of its make is the same for both people who are having the superb sophisticated comforts or living in the deep slums of megacities. In the early stages of the Pandemic and Government’s standard protection measure were refused by many of the religious groups, including some branches of Christianity. They even denied to take sanitary measures, believing in God that nothing would harm them. So happened in South Korea, one of the main extreme teaching churches was brought into mainstream media for their reluctance to comply with the sanitary rules and ‘social-distancing’ order. Thus, many other religious groups, equally with churches, mosques and other religious gathering were drawn into suspicion as if the religious people were the primary carriers of the viruses.

Why Covid-19 pandemic comes to knock on your door? Is there any reason that hundreds of thousands innocent lives have taken as consequence? Why the powerful ones have knelt down before this epidemic? Why these highly progressed technology and scientific achievement couldn’t respond? Why? The question may lead to nowhere, but ultimately leaves you at the realization of being the failure to acknowledge the reality of life and death. For Christians, when we realize that the life has be turned upside down, we must have the right understanding of Bible-based theology. A proper Bible-based theology can help you understand the reason and the consequences of the pandemic. Therefore, let yourself relax and help others in the painful feelings. This is the wisdom produced in the threatening situation of Covid-19: Always be positive and calm, stay at home, spend more times with your love ones, celebrate the presence of God in your life through His protection and provisions, keep your virtual influence reach the unreachable, and so on. Yes, we are all brought into the spotlight, where we cannot avoid what is happening around us, but we are all equally encouraged to adapt the new normal as our our lifestyle.

 

  1. Church: A Shift from Mansion to home

This new shift has offered a ‘new normal’ as many others are saying to adapt and live, which has the changed the course of life in many ways. It was the third weekend of March, almost every church on earth stopped meeting in person within its church building. Public gatherings for worship in big-wide halls were canceled until another notice. Perhaps, for many pastors, it was suicidal attempt to stop the church, but it created a movement of church being held in every Christian family. Many are forced to be trained lead the house-church as pastors! Yes, the family altar of worship brought into the very unit of human institution. It is sad indeed to close down the buildings for mass worship, the mansions for which we have invested a lot, and the comforts that we had created to become ‘church’, yet have we really lost something from the worship we render to God? If we are wise enough to take this pandemic as the primary vehicle to spread the good news, this certainly helps us reach the entire humanity through our virtual reaches. The online media, which are the mainstream to take you any place at any time, are there for us to utilize in full. For me, I am grown in my reach of sharing the gospel to many people whom I had no time to talk before. This, even virtual, makes me still connected with my church-mates, zoom and such means are the gift of the technology God allowed us to use.

 

  1. God is in Control: Ignorance Rebuked

No matter what will happen the Emmanuel God is with us! He takes in control of the course of my life, and great assurance it that ‘all thing will be good to those trust in Him!’ There is an incomplete dairy to write, in which the first and last pages are already written: your birth and death stories are there already people can read. He knew about your birthday story for which He knitted together the beautiful incidents before you born. Same way, He knows what will happen to your death-bed! And yet other pages need to be written! What will you write in your journal? The day will come when every knee shall bow before the great white throne of the Lord and every tongue shall confess that He is the Lord indeed. Before that moment approach to you, one thing must be ignored that Christ could do nothing to you! On that day, all faithful followers of Christ will be rewarded and others, who have willingly dismissed the message of hope and salvation in Christ will be rebuked for all eternity!

So, what does the pandemic tells us to remember? For most of us it reminds us to acknowledge the reality of life. We are created in His image, whom He loved so much and purchased us through His own death. I assume, this is a reminder for all humanity that there is God in control. By not of our wisdom, riches and might; no not of our education, skilled technology and influence, but by the Spirit of God. If we are setting our eyes up to His goodness to come, we will not feel traumatized, rather we would stand with the weaker ones giving hope. Because our God protects and heals us, He alone is able to rule in every situation. One day, He will restore our weeping into rejoicing!

 

  1. Keep on trying what the best

Epidemic such like this is not a new experience for human beings on this earth. The history gives a detail accounts of pandemic. Almost every century had experience millions of death toll. But what we observe is that the frequency of such devastating endemic is shortening as the creation is growing to its perfection. In my knowledge itself, I have encountered five or more of such plagues, wide-spread diseases and swiping deaths by HIV/AIDS, SARS, Swine Flu, MERS, Ebola, etc. and now we are facing the Covid-19. And, as long as I trust in the Lord, I would not ostracize myself with threat of the pandemic, but keep on trying what could bring relief to me and people around.

For me, I have become more prayerful than ever before in my 30 years walk with Jesus. I am much more active than ever before in helping others’ survival. I submit to the admonition of Apostle Paul, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think of these things” (Philippians 4:8).  As Christians, we are the people of hope. We are future-oriented community. We believe that everything will be better after a while, no sickness, no overwhelmingly wide spread news of Corona Virus, no death even would separate us from the love Christ (Romans 8:35).

 

  1. LYNAY: Did we see they are starving?

The second greatest commandment of the Bible is ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ But it is sad that we don’t see each of God’s children are doing this! Do we love God? We must love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Because of His love, we can love one another, and should love the lost ones because His love empowers us to do so. His love compels us to send our prayer for those hurting world. Love motivates us to care for the needy ones. The question is what hinders us not to love? Attitude matters! So, we must submit to God and obey His commandments, learn from His compassion and create the passion to love within heart.

LYNAY is an acronym of the whole sentence: Love-Your-Neighbor-As-Yourself. But we are not loyal to God, we are not yet driven by His love. And we may be found hypocrite because we have been keeping away from loving our neighbors. Who is my Neighbor? Jesus gave a clear explanation about ‘my neighbor’ through the parable of ‘Good Samaritan’. Thus, you and I cannot make any excuse that we did not have a neighbor! In the times of need like this, the neighbors are brought closer to our attention. Should we turn our back and quietly leave the place, or should we do something to save them?

No one could ever banish the love-oriented history of Christianity, in which the church stood up unconquered. As you go down to the pandemic historical events and look in to its continual life-saturating activities that the church had unceasingly involved, you will realize that all powers and authorities had failed but the church did not. Why? Because the Church is the only recognized body on earth on which God puts His trust making her responsible to save the lost. In the difficult situations like this, it was the church who took responsibilities to take care of dying ones. Martin Luther’s tract to the church in the 1500s, can be taken as an example. He reminded the church of his days during the time of similar endemic that Jesus would make her responsible of not paying attention of the needy ones and be rebuked (Matthew 25:43).

Let us be found doing what is the best in life that would move God’s heart and reward the restoration for all…

[1]Dr Ruth Valerio and Gideon Heugh, TearFund’s official webpage: https://learn.tearfund.org/~/media/files/tilz/covid19/covid-19-tearfund-a-christian-perspective-on-covid-19-en.pdf?la=en. Read on 10th August 2020 by 10:09am.

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