Commentary by Bill Watanabe
The article by Michael Luo in the New Yorker entitled, “An Advent Lament in the Pandemic,” presents a great challenge for the Christian church in America today. I have heard that the Chinese word for “crisis” is composed of two Chinese characters which combines the term for “danger” with the term for “opportunity.” The current Covid19 pandemic is an example of how this crisis can be both a danger and an opportunity for our nation and for our brothers and sisters who profess to follow Jesus Christ.
Luo provides a history of how pandemics in Roman times and throughout European history have caused mass fatalities and fear (“danger”) but also how the faith of the early Christians moved them to emulate Jesus and to love and care for those who were afflicted and died from diseases (“opportunity”) and that the sacrificial love of Christians actually promoted non-believing others to accept the faith of this great witness of humanity.
The current witness of the Christian church in America has many examples of believers giving food and shelter to those in desperate need, but, unfortunately, there are also churches who display negative examples of love and compassion by openly flaunting the need for safe-distancing and caring for each other.
This is a lament—but the Christmas season is a time for renewing hope in a loving God.
Read the full article in The New Yorker, “An Advent Lament in the Pandemic: COVID-19 has held a mirror to Christianity, just as the epidemics of the past did.“