At one time in human history, the handshake was a symbol of peace. In Ancient Greece, two people would shake hands, rather than bowing to each other, to prove they were hospitable equals and therefore felt no need to carry weapons. In Medieval times, knights began to shake hands in an attempt to dislodge any hidden weapons. In 2020, we are urged to rethink how we greet each other lest we potentially spread the invisible enemy.
As Christians, we are familiar with battling an invisible enemy for “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Just as we are urged by Scripture to take precautions and be on the alert for the enemy of our souls, we would be well-advised to ponder our ways in these unprecedented disrupted days. Our new normal discourages handshakes, depletes needed supplies, distances us from each other, but may also deepen our trust in our Creator and Sustainer.
Yes, these are unprecedented times, yet when has life ever really been normal?
In the last decade, we have had crises, mismanagements, alarms, difficulties, setbacks, and emergencies. Indeed, “human life has always been lived on the edge of precipice” (CS Lewis). Indeed, life has a way of reminding us how fragile and mortal we really are. David said it most eloquently, “My life is as a shadow as it lengthens” (Psalm 102:11).
In the span of that shadow, we pilgrimage to a permanent city. We were never promised heaven on earth; rather we were promised a homeland in a new country – one where the Healer and Victor over Death dwells.
In these unprecedented times, do we react with vice and folly or with good deeds and godly wisdom?
Perhaps this pandemic is a gift.
Typically at this time of the year we might be caught up in our daily routines, the hay fever of spring, March Madness, senioritis, work. Perhaps now we can reexamine our priorities. Now is the time to reflect upon and perhaps reorder our loves.
In our homeschool studies my children and I have been contemplating virtue as we read one of Plato’s dialogues. Worthy of consideration in the discussion of virtue are Augustine’s admonitions: “Set your loves in order. Love all things in God. Love God and do what you will.”
Scripture tell us to give thanks in all things and so we must look for how to accept the pandemic as a gift. In so doing, we must seek to reorder our priorities and put more dedication to the things we should love. For one thing, we can draw nearer to the Savior upon whom we depend for life, breath, bread, grace, mercy, and the list goes on. Start your day in the Word and savor moments in prayer. Let Him strengthen, sustain, and set you on the path of virtue — that which pleases Him.
Like all trials, this invisible enemy increases patience and hope and proves our faith. In reality, this invisible enemy, Covid-19, may actually serve as a spiritual catalyst in drawing us closer to God.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4.