The churches have not been exempt from the effects of the Covid 19
pandemic. Churches have closed, liturgies cancelled, ‘virtual’ participation
almost normal in many countries.
In this context, is there an appropriate
Christian response? What can we learn from the responses of religious people to
previous pandemics? Is there any model of response that can help Christians
when, inevitably, there will be further pandemics in our
Pandemics and Spiritual Seekers– a collection of essays,
poems, prayers and reflections – records various responses, ancient and
contemporary. It includes the insights of saints, mystics and celebrated writers
who have left us their thoughts of how to make sense of it all; it includes the
responses of contemporary faithful people, sharing their experiences of anxiety,
distress, fear, uncertainty and hope. All of them offer opportunities to reflect
deeply on the theology and spirituality of the pandemic.
response includes those who see the pandemic as an opportunity to consider the
nature and function of the church itself in such troubled times. Pope Francis
has proposed that the church should be a ‘field hospital’, implying a moving
away from traditional boundaries to exercise the healing ministry of Jesus to
people affected by the pandemic – those afflicted spiritually as well as
physically and mentally.
The subtitle of the book ‘Locating our
invisible wounds’ suggests that the pandemic may be amoment for the church, an
opportunity to consider what the community called church offers to wounded
humanity - what needs to change within itself as it seeks and offers faithful
responses to the challenging, pandemic events in our lives.
Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge