Holding on to faith
Martha’s family home had seen friends gather time and time again to laugh, eat, drink, sing and share together.
Then one day, death came knocking at the door and took away one of their loved ones. When Jesus next came to visit his friends, he found pain and sadness.
Martha approached him, distraught. Her dear brother Lazarus had died. Martha voiced both her inner conflicts and her hope. She was fighting to hold on to her faith while trying to find answers for what had happened.
Martha’s story is one of theology lived out in the face of the most difficult human experiences – evil, suffering and death. She held fast to her ancestors’ traditions and to the deep-rooted belief in one God that had been passed down to her.
She couldn’t understand how something like this could have evaded the dominion and control of the God who reigns over everything. How could this be happening to them?
Talking meaningfully about God
If living out our theology implies talking meaningfully about God in each generation and in every circumstance:
- What does that mean during a pandemic?
- What can we say about God, or do in his name, in the face of so much loss?
- How can we speak about his kingdom when a small virus seems to have thrown everything into such disarray?
- Is this a divine judgement, a sign of the end times, or a conspiracy?
There must be more to it.
Maybe we, like Martha, need to revisit our understanding of God’s reign during these times.
Is God still sovereign? Yes, but he isn’t the only player in history.
Is God good and just? Yes, he is, but we live in a fallen world where evil, pain and mystery also operate.
Does God just sit there and watch us suffer? Not at all. In fact, instead of remaining a distant king, he became like us, and came to be with us and walk alongside us in the person of Jesus.
Will death have the last word? No, Jesus overcame death and offers us abundant life now and a glorious future in the life to come.
Following Jesus’ example
What about now, while we wait for the life to come?
Following Jesus’ example, we are called to get alongside people, to encourage life and to give hope – even in times of Covid-19.
We need to be there for those who are suffering in the pandemic, especially the most vulnerable. We should be doing all we can to save lives.
We are called to show faith in God and love to our fellow human beings. God’s kingdom is about relationships, solidarity, life and hope.
That’s the example Jesus gave us. Will we choose to reflect Jesus in our lives today?