God said this Virus is "Nothing"?
I saw a compilation of television evangelists’ preaching at the onset of the Covid-19 Virus that shows what some of them were telling people. I mention it here because it is important to have a healthy perspective when it comes to understanding “God versus the virus”.
The evangelists continued to encourage people to defy the science of the spread of community contagions by inviting people to come to worship together and greet each other closely, some defying their governor’s edict.
One guy said he woke up at 2:30 in the morning and was told by God that “We’re looking at the virus and the virus is nothing.”
So did he, or God, get this wrong?
Here are some of the other comments offered in response to the virus outbreak by various television evangelists:
“If we die, we die for Christ. If we live, we live for Christ, so what do you lose?”
“The power of the government stops at the door of our church. If you look around our church, you didn’t stop these people from coming. You gave it your best shot.”
One guy put on a mask, and as he took it off, he declared “Victory over the virus.”
And the final, most outlandish promise? “No plague is going to come near you when you are in him.”
The only sliver of truth I heard was that “the goal, the tactic of the enemy, is to stop us from worshipping.”
You see, the enemy does take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself, but God outdoes him in mercy and love, especially through the actions of his people.
These proclamations that defy solid science and encourage people to presume some kind of supernatural protection while doing so is nonsense.
We are called to be wise, not naïve, especially in the face of facts, so that we can keep each other safe as well as ourselves. To do any less is unconscionable.
Does God have power over evil? Yes, he does. Is prayer powerful? Yes it is, but that does not mean we should ignore common sense and scientific wisdom? No, not at all. God works through nature much of the time.
Here’s an example.
It is human nature for us to want to be with each other, so in order to satisfy our need during this time of social distancing, God has given us an incredible gift.
I have seen people within my own community extend offers of help, from giving extra supplies to offers for prayer. Our own Catholic community has been offering Masses online, live-streaming various hours of prayer and even doing a Eucharistic procession through neighborhoods, blessing people from their porches and front yards. Images of numerous children and adults kneeling on their front lawn in the presence of Jesus was remarkable.
When was the last time you saw that?
I think what we are witnessing will bring about a profound change. At least I sure hope so. More people are praying more often; neighbors are reaching out to see how they can help their neighbors. We have a greater desire for the Eucharist and the need for each other. Things we can easily take for granted in calmer times.
We are beginning to see that we are all in this together.
Maybe some people won’t get it. Maybe they will continue to look out for themselves and embrace that big sin of greed, but more and more I am seeing just the opposite.
In fact, I recently saw, on our neighborhood email thread, a neighbor posted this:
“I’m not a Religious person but I know prayer works. I have seen certain Spiritual Leaders asking everyone to pray at a certain hour of the day. There is a post on here about a 6:30 shout out to neighbors. How about a silent neighborhood prayer moment where say at 7:00 pm everyone stops and says a silent prayer. No matter your Faith or Denomination. Or just a moment of your own family joining in a moment of prayer daily during this time of crisis. Stay Well everyone.” (Debbie Vallimont)
Isn’t that beautiful? Everyone is joining in and recognizing the need for prayer. More of us are “noticing” God!
Whenever a situation arises, I always ask myself, in an attempt to see the bigger picture, “Where is God in this?”
Clearly, God is in his people, and they are giving public witness to his power to overcome sickness and darkness. It doesn’t come through a false sense of empowerment that cries out for resistance from doing what is right, like those television evangelists, but a genuine understanding of how God works in this world, through his people.
Let us remember to thank God for the grace, strength and ability to endure whatever may come.