Summary: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a barrage of unknowns – making it impossible for any of us to predict exactly what will happen next

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany( 2021) Year B.

By. Rev. Reginald Knight

For the past few Sundays we have met together through this medium, in compliance with the directives by our authorities and our Diocesan respectively. Yes, we as a church are feeling a certain degree of displacement. Our daily Sunday routines have been disturbed, our Wednesday services and our ability to visit our shut-in members have all been affected by this new way of life – this new normal.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a barrage of unknowns – making it impossible for any of us to predict exactly what will happen next – what to expect.

Yes. The invisible enemy is upon us, it is in the form of a terrible and deadly disease – at work across the world and certainly in our nation.

Across the world, many scientists are busy at using their God given gifts to understand this disease. They are trying to find better ways to control and where possible bring a halt to its spread. With the emergence of the various new variants of this disease, we are all being encouraged to be more vigilant and to recognize and adhere to safe practices – washing of hands regularly, wearing face masks and social distancing.

Governments around the world – most especially our government, are all hard at work trying to devise ways in which we as a nation can do what we can in order to get a hold on the disease and wrestle it to the ground – in the hope of eventually defeating it. We are being encouraged to fight this together, we are being encouraged to be each other’s keeper and see past whatever differences we may have, and stand together for this cause. If we are to be indeed successful, there must be a togetherness in this fight – granted this will bring some dislocation – but all for the greater good.

Today the religious community must now play our part in demonstrating to the rest of Barbados and the region, that this is a fight which we must all be a part of. The voice of the church must be a voice preaching the Gospel of hope, reminding all that God is very much in this pandemic with us. And that we with the help of God will not relent in the fight.

And so there is good news, the good news that the God who fights with and for his people, is not passive and that he is (According to St. Paul) “working all things together for the good.”

We must all come together, and do what is required to win this battle against this disease; because in spite of all these various practices and scientific break-throughs, there’s still a sense of fear and hopelessness among our people. A feeling of hopelessness which stands to affect us in so many ways – most especially our mental states.

But I believe that we must be bold enough to call it what it is. This experience brothers and sisters to my mind is a wake-up call to us all – a wake-up call to us believers.

As one writer puts it, “God does send trouble when it’s necessary for our ultimate good.”

Writer and contributor Richard Tow, in an article said this of God: He sent trouble to Jonah to get him turned in the right direction. What was God’s objective behind sending the storm and the fish Jonah’s way? It was to get Jonah aligned with His purposes. It was the salvation of many souls in Nineveh.

If we consider the persecution that came upon the early church, that persecution caused them to become fragmented and got them out into the community, the end result of that disruption, was an advancement of the Gospel. Acts 8:4 tells us: “Therefore, those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.”

Our church is today making full use of the internet and the various forms of media which can be used to get the word of God out to the wider community the world. I’m sure that we at this moment are reaching some of our friends in the UK and the USA. This evening we repeat this service on YouTube where it can be watched and listened to as often as you like – but we cannot be too comfortable, daily we have to be creative in our thinking and in what we do as we continue the task of spreading the good news – the gospel of Christ. A Christ who stands ready to protect and care for his people.

We are now tasked with the responsibility of living out and personifying the gospel, during this period of disruption.

How do we respond to the needs of others within the community?

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