I know we’ve all dealt with various hardships brought about by the pandemic, but I think that the hardest thing isn’t what the pandemic has caused, but what it has revealed.
It has revealed the severe limits of the faith of many of our people, who are turning to politicians for answers and the promise of cures for hope, rather than turning to God.
It has revealed how vulnerable our churches are to conspiracy theories, and how rare it is for people to actually stop and evaluate the information they consume. Further, it has revealed how the church’s history of conflict with science has left it incapable of knowing how to seek out credible sources, because we’ve given preference to sources that fit our narrative for so long.
It has revealed how good cable news is at making disciples, and equally, how poorly the church has made disciples. So many Christians are not asking, “how would Jesus have us approach this?” They’re asking, “what is my partisan news source telling me to believe?” They’re not quoting or referencing scripture, they’re repeating the latest bumper-sticker sized slogan and partisan talking points they learned from the news celebrities who teach them how to worship at the altar of political party.
It has revealed that many Christians seem less concerned about serving God’s kingdom and worshiping Christ as King than they are about cheering for their “red” or “blue” team and its players (candidates, politicians and platforms).
It has revealed although that we have done as Jesus said and become like children, we have adopted their immaturity rather than their innocence. Really – when did it become okay to call people names? I thought we outgrew that by the time we reached middle school. And seriously, why do so many of the name-calling insults include variations of the word, “retarded”? That is tragically offensive and unbecoming of a Christian all by itself.
It has revealed how sickeningly consumeristic we really are, when churches are meeting twice on Sundays, adopting special services to cater to peoples’ preferences for mask-wearing.
It has revealed how selfish we are, when we find ourselves incapable of making even the smallest sacrifices of comfort for the good of the most vulnerable people.
It has revealed how impatient we are. I’m not even going to elaborate.
It has revealed how poor we are at practicing lament, when we practically ignore the 132,000 deaths that have taken place in our country alone, and the 535,000 deaths worldwide. We went to war over 3,000, but won’t wear masks for 132,000.
It has revealed how weak the office of “pastor” has become, when the pastor’s words about God’s kingdom mean far less than the news station’s words of feigned and manufactured outrage.
It has revealed that we are less concerned about truth than about justifying our opinions.
It has revealed the true priorities of many churches when the primary concern is whether attendance will rebound rather than how to minister to people who are experiencing genuine trauma, anxiety, financial hardship, amplified mental illness, and whose previously controlled addictions are beckoning loudly once again.
It has revealed how incapable of dialogue we are, preferring instead to talk past one another with competing monologues. (I’m amazed at how we’d rather prove the “other side” right than be proven wrong… we’d rather puff up our chests with racist proclamations than be called racist).
It has revealed, yet again, that being pro-life too often only extends to the unborn.
It has revealed that we neither count ourselves among the least, nor do we care about the ones who Jesus called “the least of these, my brothers and sisters.”
It has revealed that we have not placed our hope in Jesus, but in the lingering promise of vaccines, unproven medications, and political promises, Unless, of course, we have gone the next step further and denied that there is anything to hope against at all.
I think that if this pandemic has done anything, it has revealed how much we are truly in need of Jesus, and how severe the consequences of our unrepentant idolatry truly is.