Coronavirus and the danger of being in denial


Donald Trump was widely condemned when he said he wanted America open again for Easter Sunday on April 12. I'd love to be in church that day and I'm sure Christians in America and all the over the world would love to be. Just not if it means people die.

We have lots of young people and families in our church, more than most, but we love our old folk dearly and we don't want them to get infected.

Church is the people, not the building or meeting, so we're having to learn to do church differently over phone and video calls.

Trump seemed to be demonstrating a huge amount of denial. But we have never faced something like this in our lifetime and our proud sense of advancement and control have lost their lustre.

The current state of our world feels like a film where there's a germ warfare attack, where the germs can kill the old and the weak. But there's no baddie to blame; it's on all of us.

For some people at least, it seems the threat was not clear until they were forced to socially distance.  For a while, we saw countless cases of people going to busy places where they didn't have to be. I get the trips to the supermarkets but nobody needed to climb Snowdon because it was a sunny weekend. Nobody.

Whilst plenty of friends I saw out and about on social media were at pains to make clear they were social distancing, there were clearly people who weren't. On the news, I saw footage of people who were on a busy Bondi beach. One said it was a 'last hurrah'. Great. A last chance to pick up some germs to take home to kill someone vulnerable.

It reminded me of my friend Mel who coined the term 'human soup' to explain why she wouldn't go in a jacuzzi. Human soup was her typically hilarious summary of what was going on – a bunch of people, a big whooshy tub of water and everything swooshing about. Sorry if I'm making you wince but the point is clear – you can't sit in a jacuzzi without a bit of, well, sharing!

Mel's dislike of jacuzzi's came to mind when I thought of people's behaviour around social distancing - or not. It felt as if some people didn't want to believe that when they got into a shared space, there would be some sharing - in our current situation, sharing germs, which could prove to be fatal.

For some, the penny won't drop 'till the numbers of deaths increase, 'till it comes to their town, their street, their family.

On another level, this makes me ask questions of people's view of modern life. It's easy and tempting to think that all there is is the material world. We are used to a world where it is normal to fixate on external appearances, an age of Instagram and Botox. People chase the thrill of the now – entertainment and experiences.

Now we know that we can actually see these germs – if someone sticks them under a microscope. But some people have acted as if they don't exist because they can't see them dancing about before their eyes.

As we know all too well, there is more to life than immediately meets the eye.

We cannot find a soul or a conscience by dissecting a body and putting what we find under a microscope, but we know there is more to us than just flesh and blood.

It's when people are willing to stop in the quiet place that we can acknowledge there is more going on. Sometimes there are things that force us to stop, a spine-tingling bit of music, a game changer like the birth of a child, or something like this when all of a sudden the music stops, the world freezes and we try and work out what to do next.

At this time, we need people to be willing to listen to that inner voice. As Nicola Sturgeon recently put it, 'life should not feel normal' and if it does, you should ask 'if you are doing the right things'.

We need to have that inner conversation. As Professor Hugh Montgomery said on Channel 4's Dispatches: 'It's not about you, it's about everybody else.'

There is so much we cannot see, and we need to be willing to see past the imminent and the obvious.

Just as you can't find a soul under a microscope, you can't prove there is a God in and over our world. For me, he is in the fabric of it all. In Matthew 13, Jesus said that his Kingdom, the place he reigns, is like yeast – just as yeast transforms dough, Jesus wants to permeate everything. This is his heart, not to occasionally swoop down but to be part of everything.

I understand that people will ask what he's doing about all this. I would say he is present, not distant, wanting to help us all to do this crazy time well, wanting to work in us all to be his hands and feet to those in need, and to work through some great minds to bring this thing to a swift end.

Dave Luck is the author of 'What Happens Now? A journey through unimaginable loss' and blogs weekly on Follow him on Twitter @dluckwrite or on Facebook at the 'Daveluckwrites' page.