By The Rev. Mary V. Turner
Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church
Forest Park, Ohio 45240
God is sovereign, and nothing happens without His permissive will! He is in control of history, and our lives are woven into His plans. And, He is always speaking by word and action. Perhaps it is time for His people to listen to Him.
Throughout biblical history, whenever God’s people were distant from Him, especially when immersed in a culture of idol worship, God would “allow” circumstances designed to draw His people back to Him. In the book, “The Prophetic Imagination, Walter Brueggemann asserts when God’s people demonstrate a “royal consciousness,” meaning dependency on a secular or “royal king,” the people can become complacent, although often being ruled by the “politics of oppression and exploitation.”
Brueggemann explains there must be a catalyst to dismantle the existing consciousness and energize the people to accept an “alternative consciousness,” which is dependent on the Everlasting King. With His ruler-ship, there is “God’s freedom” and the politics of justice. When we experience events that confound the human mind, perhaps we need to consider a “divine” perspective.
Many did not believe Donald Trump, who appeared the least likely, would rise to the top of the Republican candidates and become their nominee. And, then to become the president of the United States, was unthinkable!
And, although he has undermined many of our existing alliances with other countries, limited power of agencies previously established to protect the rights of citizens, treated immigrants with disgust and moved countries to the brink of war, many are willing to rationalize or set his practices aside, desiring to vote for him again because they are enjoying a “good economy.”
Trump has been a visible threat, but our current crisis may have provided “the greatest reveal” of a “national leader” in whom many place their trust. Even God’s people appeared to conduct themselves as those without a God who has all power. Historically, hope has been found in this appeal; “Return to me, and I will return to you.” The return to Him must be with a repentant heart, being truly sorry for one’s misdoings.
It would appear the faith community has not yet returned to God!
Now we are experiencing the coronavirus, which is an invisible threat. In the Book of Habakkuk, chapter 1, verse 5, we find God’s answer to the prophet’s complaint about God’s lack of response to violence and corruption among Habakkuk’s people. He says, “Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”
So, we find those things in which we trusted and depended upon are systematically being suspended. Our attachment to sports and entertainment that may have reached to a level of worship has suffered a disconnection.
The economy that was driving many to maintain the “political status quo” has also been drastically affected. Even our worship services did not escape the scope of influence of the pandemic. It appears we have worshipped God with our lips, and our hearts have been far from Him, because we have devoted our hearts to idols. Our assemblies then, would not have been acceptable to God.
The whole world is essentially at a “stand-still.’’
“This is a defining moment for God’s people to fully know that He is the Lord our God!” And, during this time of “stillness,” the community of faith can reflect on whom we “had” believed; the God who is a Jealous God, from whom we are now estranged. And, hopefully this reflection will result in God’s people all over the world, as with one voice, acknowledging our sinfulness and seeking God’s forgiveness and mercy as we return to Him. Then perhaps we will experience the healing we so desperately long for.