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I have just read an extremely interesting book called ‘God and the Pandemic’ by Tom Wright.
One question that is posed is: ‘How do we live with this problem and how do we come through it? What – as well as lament – is the calling of the church in the midst of it?’
The church’s mission began, according to St John, with three things which have become familiar to us in recent days.
It began with tears, locked doors and doubt.
The disciples were in hiding behind locked doors with tears for shattered dreams and what might have been.
Tears, locked doors and doubts seem to go together. Together they sum up a lot of where we are globally at this time. Tears in plenty, of course, with so many lives cut short. Locked doors: well precisely. Fear is real. Fear that every stranger in the street might give me that deadly virus and it could kill me within a week. I might be able to give it to them as well, so lockdown – behind closed doors.
And so between the tears and the lockdown, there is doubt. Is there any room left for faith, for hope?
If we are locked away from all but a few, is there any room for love?
These are hard and pressing questions.
If the earliest disciples found Jesus coming to meet them in their tears, fears and doubt, perhaps we can too.
The call to Jesus’ followers as they confront their own doubts and those of the world through tears and behind closed doors, is to be agents for Christ through actions.
Actions that right wrongs, challenge unjust systems, feed the hungry and hold the world to account in the power of the Spirit.