M.Afr. Ghana/Nigeria Province

Barthelemy Reflects on COVID-19?

There is an African adage that says uneasy is the head that wears the crown. The pandemic of Corona virus is like a mighty rock falling from the sky that makes everyone run helter-skelter for cover. The virus attacks everyone irrespective of gender, age, colour, educational, political or social status. No single minute passes by without many of us tuning to a television or radio station or checking on social media to get updates about the corona virus. It really brings panic, anxiety and fear among all and sundry. However, when I hear about the new pandemic of Corona virus the first question I ask myself is “what is it about, and where does it come from?” Of course, this pandemic is not the first of its kind. Over the years, the world has experienced similar illnesses, which took the lives of many people, though many others survived them.

However, this particular one, Corona virus/Covid-19, brings lots of fear in people’s minds due to the rate and speed at which it spreads from one person to another or from one country to another. For sure, it sends shivers down my spine any time I hear about the big number of people who are infected with the disease, and are dying from it all over the world. Are we now approaching the end of the world one may even ask? Even the Churches that serve as one of our main sources of hope and consolation in moments like these have all closed because of the disease.
Another question that tickles my mind is the following: there are indeed many other illnesses, such as Cholera, Malaria, Ebola, etc., which claimed and still claim lots of lives, but with God’s help, researchers have managed to find an appropriate medication which succeeds in curing many. How come that this particular one comes at terrible speed, and we are not able to stop it? Today, because of this virus, the whole world is shaken and divided, and there is no more communication among nations. Nations close their borders and people are scattered left and right. Those who find themselves abroad can’t go back to their home countries.

We are now even losing slowly our rich African values because of this disease. It is a common practice of Africans exchanging pleasantries with handshakes, hugs, visiting each other, sitting together and discussing different issues going on in society. But now we are asked to observe “social distancing”. School children cannot go to school until further notice and the notoriously religious African cannot go to church or places of worship to exercise their religious franchise. Where are we now? And where are we going to? There seem to be no more African values as we used to know. This Corona Virus pandemic seems to destroy all our activities and our happy social encounters.

But as a Christian, I strongly believe that even though church buildings may all be closed, I can never lose hope or blame God, because the Church, which is the Family of God, can never be closed. We are the Church, and therefore we must remain steadfast and faithful to our belief in God.
We should remember the words of Jesus to the Samarian woman in John 4:21-24, “A time is coming when you shall worship God neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem, but from the heart, for God is Spirit and those who truly worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth”.
May the Good Lord continue to listen to the cry of his people, and save us from this pandemic of Corona virus. Amen.


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