In understanding God’s purpose for humanity in our Christian tradition, we often refer to the dialogue in the book of Matthew:
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
(Matt. 22:36-40 NRS)
If Jesus were walking the streets of the hot zones in our American cities would he see the concept of loving our neighbors as ourselves being lived out or ignored by the majority of people? Is it a loving act to deliberately not to wear a mask to protect the health of others or should we be disgusted by the perceived limitations to our personal freedoms? It is a loving act to gather in groups without regard to the dangers of the covid-19 virus or should our own convenience and comforts take priority?
I do not believe God allowed the covid-19 virus to be unleased as a punishment, but I wonder about the general revelation this virus and the pandemic presents to us. What has this virus revealed about the spiritual nature of America?
Which is more loving, to try and continue a comfortable lifestyle or to be satisfied with our daily bread in order that others might live as well? Which is more loving, being willing to pay more taxes in order to provide a better a social safety net to those who have lost jobs and are struggling to have a place to live or to focus on our own desires and possessions?
The more I think about what the covid-19 virus reveals about the condition of our country, the more I wish people would seek to make America good rather than to seek America to be great.