What if the pandemic’s enemy was the cause of the pandemic, the Covid-19 coronavirus? What if we could put all of our anger, grief, distrust, and fear towards this invisible yet deadly enemy? Each of us is a potential target, from libertarians squirming in their local pub to business women who have had to fire their valued friends and employees. The virus managed to prevent interference, deny schoolchildren the dreaded fifth period, and terrorize parents who love their children but can’t change diapers while presenting a zoom call to work. Disruptions go deeper than lifestyle breaks. Life itself is under threat as thousands experience a violent, ugly, and lonely death. Nobody is literally immune – at least we are not sure yet. Is the virus an enemy? If so, why not blame the virus for everything that happens to us?
We could sell corona virus targets that we can shoot at. We could have support groups where people scream their anger at how this little devil destroyed our democracy and closed our churches. We could then resist this little bastard by saying, “I’ll kill you by washing my hands again!” In addition to the scientific and practical efforts, an entire propaganda campaign against the virus seems to help us very well. Are we ready to turn from the mud to ourselves and call a real enemy? We have a villain and his name is COVID-19. Every villain needs a nemesis. So who is the hero?
A hero seems to be fighting COVID-19.
The hero is the one who prevents us from viewing our brothers and sisters, neighbors and employees or politicians and leaders of public health as enemies. The hero is not affected by a click bait that gives this faceless disease a human face. Our hero understands that we are the problem too, although the technical issues are paramount in finding a vaccine, providing hospital beds, and containing the virus. It seems that no one in today’s tribal, divided and scapegoat world wants to have his or her problems, let alone be held responsible for the spread of the virus. But the hero knows that if he’s passive, he’s actually part of the problem.
The hero in our story stays at home, washing his hands and wearing a mask. The hero mourns the loss of the neighbors and holds his tongue when inexplicable anger arises in him. Heroes are aware that fear is real and that something can be overcome. Fear looks like a mask is called male. Fear seems to dehumanize the messengers of the bad but important news. Fear prevents us from asking deeper questions that could lead us to fight together against this invisible enemy. Our hero realizes that their weakness is to give in and react to fear instead of leading, thinking, and learning. And learning is not good enough to be true, if it is shared. It’s easy to criticize, to complain and to blame. What the hero does is investigate, think critically, and be open to complexities.
The insecurity felt like a faceless enemy.
We hate dealing with uncertainty! That’s why we prefer our bad guys if they can be easily marked with a face that we don’t already like. Why do I think that’s the case? I think that’s because we’re all part of the problem right now. Unconsciously, the face we give the invisible COVID-19 virus could just as well be our own. When we call a health official, a media professional, or a prime minister an enemy, we unmask the fact that we believe that a person is not only behind this disease, but is also responsible for all of our losses. It doesn’t have to be that way. If we fight ourselves, how will we have the energy to fight our real enemy, mourn our real losses, and make room for a better future? But we prefer to take each other out. We prefer to share our strength and fire at people, not disease. It is completely human from us. But there is a better way.
Christians exalt Jesus as our hero. He knew that sin and death are our enemies – both in the earthly and in the eternal sense. We are healed by his stripes – the traces of the whip on his back. He didn’t even hate his treacherous friend Judas, but was willing to be wrongly accused of fighting our real enemy – death. Where we could not fight, Jesus fought. But he didn’t fight as a roaring lion. Instead, our rescuer bled like a wounded lamb and forever wore scars that remind us of his victim. Death has been defeated and Jesus is alive! Forever, like a hero’s medals, they carry these signs on his side, his hands, his feet. What will God’s people choose at a time when self-protection is our response? We can be a villain cohort and let the COVID 19 pandemic frustrate us by taking more lives than we should, or we can join the hero and bring life and light to the world.
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