I have decided to refresh my website as the world is changing dramatically for most of us at the beginning of 2020. With a viral epidemic now in full swing, it seems a good time to revive one means of communicating with those who may want to hear from me and, yet, who I cannot make physical contact with right now. For these few days towards the end of March I am set to be in self-isolation, not because I think I have contracted the virus, but because I have some mild symptoms which may prove to be just a cold, but which I also don’t want to pass on to others – common cold or something more serious. Better to be safe than sorry in these worrying times.
Life in God’s creation is a strange thing. If we believe that God enabled a creation that includes viruses and bacteria that can kill us, as well as great bears and tigers that can also kill us – and, in fairness, which we also kill not just to survive, but also for sport – what does that say about creation and the place of each and everything in it? We like to think that we, and the friendlier parts of God’s creation, are meant to be and have a purpose, but what about those things that are not so friendly – like COVID-19? An evolutionary biologist would say, of course, that all things exist in a fight for survival and that only those with the fittest characteristics survive. That seems a bit harsh when we’re faced with a crisis like our present one, and it is true that co-existence and co-operation could have been more widespread in creation if we humans had not tipped the balance in favour of the competition for survival.
As I reflect on the possibility that I and my loved ones around me may get something that may kill us, I am forced to acknowledge that, although many things remain a mystery, my life is more than survival and much more than a certain quantity of years. Our humanity, and our life as spiritual beings in God, should be about quality and not quantity – about the love and joy we bring to one another, and the peace which we create between one another. When I say my prayers I am not asking for more of this or that or for more years and experience to be added to my life, but for the peace, love and joy that passes all understanding. No viral infection can kill that. But, maybe by being infected with this spiritual way of life – a life of prayer which seeks to bathe everything in peace, love and joy – we can overcome the viral threat that affects our bodies and, perhaps more importantly, the selfish race for survival that affects our quality of life.
May God bless you during these trying times, and please watch out for my regular reflections.