God and the Pandemic

I remember when St. Timothy's made the decision to suspend in-person worship services back in March. The thinking then was that we might have a couple weeks off to get everything sorted and in order, and then hopefully be back once we had this whole virus thing under control. It was lent, and we pictured ourselves as wandering through the wilderness on a journey that would quickly be over, hopefully by Easter. And then it was hopefully by Pentecost. And from where we're sitting now, the conversation has shifted. We've stopped trying to make guesses, and many of us are resigned to the fact that this could last for at least a year, if not more.

That's a sobering thought. Although our meetings have resumed, it will be a long while before all of us feel safe in gathering together again. And of course, we all question. Why? Why is this happening? What does it mean? What is our response in the face of this? How are we continue being the church? Where is God in all of this?



For the next few weeks I'll be blogging through  God and the Pandemic: A Christian Reflection on the Coronavirus and its Aftermath by N.T. Wright. I haven't read it yet, so I can't vouch for its contents, but my hope is that this gives us a shared vocabulary to start processing these questions as a body. Of course, the irony is that Wright cautions us against the very types of questions we are wrestling with. The book came from an article that Wright published in Time magazine. As Wright points out in the article, "It is no part of the Christian vocation, then, to be able to explain what’s happening and why."

So where does that leave us? Wright, in the preface of the book, states "if we spend time in the prayer of lament," which is to say prayers of grief and anguish, "new light may come, rather than simply the repetition of things we might have wanted to say anyway." As we work through the book together, my prayer is that this study (along with the pandemic itself) causes us to turn to scripture and ultimately to God to pour out our grief, confusion, and fear. In conversation with God, I hope his Spirit is poured out on us and we find ourselves equipped for whatever comes next.

I plan to read a chapter at a time and then post a brief summary and some of my own reflections. I may add questions, but you are also welcome to engage in discussion in the comments. You can read along in the book if you'd like, or simply catch up on the blog postings. Feel free to agree, disagree, push back, or just lurk.

Blessings!

Luke Deman

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for doing this. I look forward to your perspective
    on this book during this time in our lives.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Pandemic or no pandemic, discussing an N. T. Wright book with my church family is a dream come true. Looking forward to this!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Interesting 1st chapter setting the stage for some of what we wrestled with last night. I'm on board to join the discussion when you're ready.

    ReplyDelete

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