A time of rebirth, renewal, and hope in the midst of COVID-19Wednesday, April 07, 2021
The Christian community has just celebrated Easter Day when it reflected on the resurrection of Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This might not have meant much to those who have no interest in religion other than as a sociological force in society. It certainly is of no importance to those who do not believe in the existence of God, and who vainly try to demonstrate their unbelief often by ridiculing and criticising others who dare to believe.
But, for people of faith, this is a significant event made even more so in the context of the horrible novel coronavirus pandemic which has continued its deadly trek throughout the world into a second year. Well over a million people have been killed by the virus; livelihoods have been destroyed and social relationships disrupted; personal dreams of a secure future have been cauterised for many, especially the young. The most fragile among us have not been able to cope with the pandemic and the drastic changes that it has wrought in their lives. Thus, mental instability has become an even more worrying issue for many.
And we are not yet out of the woods. In fact, the virus is still surging in parts of the world, even in developed countries like Canada, France, Italy, and parts of Germany whose people have the resources to fight the virus.
The roll-out of the precious vaccine has not been commendable, either from the standpoint of bureaucratic hiccups due to political leadership, or a lack of consensus among producers, distributors of the product, or simply a matter of economics, especially for lower- and middle-income countries.
The burden of the pandemic on the poorer members of any society has been especially harsh and uncompromising. Like other poor countries, Jamaica is caught up in the vicious vortex of the harsh measures that have had to be taken to control the virus. Many of our people are now at the point of pandemic burnout. They are reaching a breaking point and when the dust settles it will be anyone's guess as to the impact it would have had on the psyche of our people, and perhaps the extent to which personality disorders will persist. Perhaps we have already begun to see manifestation of personality disfigurement among us. The experts in these fields will have their work cut out for them.
This is why it is important that we get back to some semblance of normality in the society and why the present lockdown regime has been so necessary. But normality will not be any time soon.
As if COVID-19 is not enough to disfigure us, in the midst of all its terrible assault on our way of life we have to be dealing with the viciousness of crime all around us. I have no doubt that COVID-19 is speaking to the brute nature in those who were already brutish and who would snuff out a life for a few “Shearers” ($5,000 bill). The hitman culture is something that the police and the society as a whole will have to deal with before it metastasises into an even greater uncontrollable cancer.
It gives no comfort that the violence producers and murderers among us are in the small minority. Their deadly and dastardly deeds are large and have serious consequences for the country's reputation and the way of life of its people.
As we celebrated Easter we were forced to ask where is God in all of this? What relevance does the resurrection of the Son of God have to the pain and indescribable anxiety that many are suffering? If there are so many churches in Jamaica, why are we so violent as a people? Why can't we settle our disputes calmly and peacefully, instead of resorting to the gun, machete or knife? Better yet, why doesn't God rend the heavens and come down and save us in this hour?
The truth is that God has already acted in his Son. Even his resurrected body bears the scar of his wounded humanity; our wounds are his, however superficial and deep they are. He qualifies to identify with us in our suffering and thus stands in solidarity with us. Those wounded hands can touch our nation if we are willing to allow them to.
Importantly, there is hope, for he holds the future in his hands. If we live in the power of his resurrected presence we do not have to live below the true levels of our capabilities. He is risen, come let us adore him!
Dr Raulston Nembhard is a priest, social commentator, and author of the books Finding Peace in the Midst of Life's Storms and Your Self-esteem Guide to a Better Life. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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