Advent will soon be peeking out from our calendars. This time around, Advent will be observed in the middle of a worldwide epidemic. It’s possible, though, that these four weeks could be helpful for our spirits.
COVID-19 is called a coronavirus because its cells’ club-shaped projections resemble the tines of a crown. During this past Lent, this crown-mimicry recalled the thorned-garland crushed onto Jesus’ head. On this year’s Christ the King Sunday, though, we will reassure each other that one of Jesus’ crowning achievements was his willingness to come to Earth to live among us.
Our situation mirrors Jesus’ own. Prophets had grown old—and died—while waiting for the redemption of the world. Hope for deliverance had been consistently crushed by cruel rulers and corrupt economic systems. The nation was fragmented into spiritual splinters. There wasn’t much left for God’s people to do other than return to the basics: To discard what wasn’t important or useful. To cling to what was true, hopeful and righteous. To wait for God’s coming rescue.
Today’s COVID virus particularly affects those of us who are older, attacking our various vulnerabilities with deadly efficiency. We’re reminded of our mortality, our dependence on others, our diminished lifestyles. We remain confined to our homes, perhaps lonely and frightened.
But COVID-19 also paves the way for perhaps-unexpected benefits: Our lives can slow down, our priorities can gain focus and strength. We can remain thankful for whatever blessings come our way. Those around us might seek our experience-based perspectives on faith and life. We can recall our life stories with quiet joy.
And we can remember: However dire our circumstances, COVID-19 cannot destroy God’s providence, God’s love, God’s invitations to repentance and righteousness. The once-crowned King is coming again!
As we have hoped….