Let’s look at history and be encouraged that this pandemic will come to an end and there will be good that comes out of it. This pandemic will pass.
If we look at spiritual history, we can see there will be a spiritual opportunity and not just the problem. That is not to diminish the ravage or the pandemic misfortune that is happening throughout the world. To be clear, the caregivers, health providers, first responders, the grieving, the service providers are my heroes, but we can drown in information each more contradicting than the other.
Besides the First Century birthing of the church there was an incredible growth of the Christian faith that came out of the Antonine Plague Pandemic in the 2nd Century. The greatest medical innovations in history excluding our recent time came along during the Justinian Plague Pandemic of the 6th Century. It was during the 16th Century Plague Pandemic that Martin Luther made history with the Protestant Movement showing people could approach the throne of God by the blood of Jesus, confessing sins and being forgiven through a personal relationship with our Lord.
John Calvin’s teaching as a theologian of the French Protestant Reformation also took place. The Puritans, which was the largest American evangelical movement came out of the 17th Century. During the 18th Century came Charles & John Wesley (Leader of the Methodist Revival movement) along with Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. In the 19th Century out of the Cholera Pandemic came Charles Spurgeon noted as the Prince of Preachers, Dwight Moody with the reputation as the greatest evangelist of the 19th Century, Charles Finney (Father of Modern Revivalism), Hudson Taylor founder of the China Inland Mission, William Booth who founded the Salvation Army, A B Simpson of the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
At the turn of the 20th Century there was the Welsh and Azusa Street revivals along with the Pentecostal and Mennonite Brethren Denominations. The last part of the 20th Century was the Charismatic Movement. As you can see the denominations, similar to an ice cream parlor offer different options of choice. In spite of the Pandemics God is continually building His church.
It was just over a 100 years ago that the world experienced the Spanish flu which killed approximately 100 million people and infected 500 million around the world. The churches were closed, masks were worn, health protocols were established. Sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it except today we have science, medicine, transportation, communication that they did not have 100 years ago.
One hundred years ago believers wondered if End times were next and today many followers are waiting on Him to return but is it possible that He is waiting on us? The Body of Christ must come to the unity of the faith until we become one, even as Jesus and His Father are one because Jesus stated the world would not believe and be won until the believers were united with one another in Him. When that happens the greatest harvest of all time could take place and we will see the return of the Messiah.
It is Jesus who builds His church through the bonds of love between His children where there will be no rivalry, competition or jealousy but just love. Let us lay aside our judgmental attitudes, our conspiracies, our academic gospel and walk out of this pandemic caring for one another in love.
John Grady lives and writes in Fort St. John