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Ed Webb

Christianity Offers No Answers About the Coronavirus | Time - 0 views

  • the sharp new regulations—no theater, schools shutting, virtual house arrest for us over-70s—make a mockery of our little Lenten disciplines. Doing without whiskey, or chocolate, is child’s play compared with not seeing friends or grandchildren, or going to the pub, the library or church.
  • There is a reason we normally try to meet in the flesh. There is a reason solitary confinement is such a severe punishment. And this Lent has no fixed Easter to look forward to. We can’t tick off the days. This is a stillness, not of rest, but of poised, anxious sorrow.
  • What if, after all, there are moments such as T. S. Eliot recognized in the early 1940s, when the only advice is to wait without hope, because we’d be hoping for the wrong thing?
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  • perhaps what we need more than either is to recover the biblical tradition of lament. Lament is what happens when people ask, “Why?” and don’t get an answer. It’s where we get to when we move beyond our self-centered worry about our sins and failings and look more broadly at the suffering of the world. It’s bad enough facing a pandemic in New York City or London. What about a crowded refugee camp on a Greek island? What about Gaza? Or South Sudan?
  • The point of lament, woven thus into the fabric of the biblical tradition, is not just that it’s an outlet for our frustration, sorrow, loneliness and sheer inability to understand what is happening or why. The mystery of the biblical story is that God also laments. Some Christians like to think of God as above all that, knowing everything, in charge of everything, calm and unaffected by the troubles in his world. That’s not the picture we get in the Bible.
  • It is no part of the Christian vocation, then, to be able to explain what’s happening and why. In fact, it is part of the Christian vocation not to be able to explain—and to lament instead.
  • out of that there can emerge new possibilities, new acts of kindness, new scientific understanding, new hope
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