Starting the conversation

Starting the conversation from St Stephen’s & St Wulstan’s on Vimeo.

5 March 2021

What do you think we can learn from the pandemic?  That’s a question worth asking. I’m not pretending to give a full answer to it here.  I don’t have enough space, and I’m not qualified to do so.  What I want is to encourage a conversation, where we see how these lessons square with a Christian worldview, what the Bible says.

You can have that conversation with believers or unbelievers.  Give it a try!  Ask someone, “What do you think we can learn from the pandemic?”  Then be ready to follow up with another question: “Why do you think that is?”  And see where the conversation leads.  Here are a few suggestions:

Life is precious.  There has been enormous effort and huge expense made in saving lives.  Specifically the lives of human beings.  And rightly so.  Why?  Because life is a gift, a gift from God, who “gives everyone life and breath and everything else.”

But also, life is fragile.  Tragically, this has become all too apparent, with previously healthy people being snatched away all too quickly.  But we should have known that already: “The life of mortals is like grass… the wind blows over it and it is gone.”

Relationships matter.  We’ve discovered that what we really miss, and find it hardest to do without, is human contact, seeing friends and family.  That shouldn’t surprise us.  We were created by a God who himself is not alone, and who said it’s not good for us to be alone.

Human beings can be brilliant.  We’ve seen moving acts of kindness and generosity in helping others, along with stunning feats of ingenuity in creating vaccines.  How are people capable of such brilliance?  Because we’re the creatures of a generous and ingenious Creator.

At the same time, human beings can be appalling.  We’ve also seen petty squabbles and blatant selfishness, disregarding the safety of others and hoarding resources.  How is that possible?  Where does that come from?  Jesus said that, “it is from within, out of a person’s heart.”

We are not in control.  If we didn’t know it before, we ought to know it now, as we reflect on plans cancelled, rescheduled, not made.  James warns us, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.”  How true.  Quite simply, we are not God.

“What do you think we can learn from the pandemic?”

Lord, keep us from missing what we should learn from the pandemic, and help us see things the way you see them.  Amen.

Chris Hobbs, Senior Minister