Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Overread at the Counter: Colossians 1:16
Colossians 1: 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
So how indeed do I delve into that verse? So how indeed would I explain that to those who do not know Christ?
Reading this verse in the time of Corona, I am led to understand that "all things invisible" must include the Coronavirus. And that the Coronavirus, being a part of "all things" are thus created "by Him and through Him and for Him."
So, exactly how is the Coronavirus "FOR" God?
Many American Nationalist Evangelical Pastors will pump two ideas: 1) that it is divine punishment for our collective national sin, which includes abortion and homosexuality, or 2) that it doesn't exist at all and that the Coronavirus has been overplayed by the Leftists, who support abortion and homosexuality.
Now, I dismiss these Fascists, for two obvious facts: 1) their constant drumbeat about the "national sins of abortion and homosexuality" never includes other national sins such as persistent social injustice, cruel mistreatment of asylum seekers, and corporate greed - all of which are spoken of clearly in the Bible and are an abomination to GOD, and 2) that their alliance to political power has cemented them as modern-day Pharisees ... and we all know what Jesus thought of Pharisees (HINT: they were not even worthy to teach about Himself, since he knew they were irredeemable and would never accept Him and that their only destination is eternal separation from GOD.
Most other non-evangelical Trumpistas will not even worry about this verse, because they don't read the Bible. When they do hear something about the Bible, it will be no more than the verse that states "If a nations turns from wicked ways... (see point 1)
So, that leaves people who take every opportunity to say "SEE! WHERE IS YOUR 'LOVING' GOD NOW?" and they will admit that the Coronavirus is "for" God only insofar as to say that Christians preach a loving God who causes people to die horribly, sucking for air. Also take note that this is along the same vein as a "loving" God allowing babies to be raped and old women to be raped and children to be murdered by drone missiles and cancer and tornadoes and earthquakes and all sorts of death.
So ... I will admit, I have no good answer. No specific, definitive answer to this conundrum.
All I know is this: that during this pandemic and the stay-at-home orders, I have seen more families taking time to play together in the park in my neighbourhood. I have seen our Bible study group grow (we are online, using ZOOM). I have heard stories of couples growing stronger and praying together, and playing more family games with their children. I have heard of my brethren in their church taking calls from their co-workers who tell them, "Listen I'm not a Christian but I know that you are and that you pray and that you have a wonderful heart, so please pray for me!" I have heard stories of people telling their CEOs that the way to get through the crisis is to show compassion, and their CEOs have said, "Well, we know you are a Christian. Tell us how to show compassion."
All of these stories and more are true. I've known people beginning to write novels, write songs, write poems, pick up cross-stitching or knitting or sewing. More people are making their own hand sanitizers, making their own soaps, finding out that they don't need consumerism. I've heard stories of people getting to know their neighbours ... people they have lived next to for decades and never even knew their names.
So, no... while I can never tell you how the deaths of people dying painfully is "for" God, I can tell you that this virus, in the middle of the death and anxiety and uncertainty, has given us opportunity to grow as individuals, to grow as families, as communities ... to grow as a people.
That is what I believe, that is what my faith has shown me, that is what the Spirit has revealed to me in Colossians 1:16