The recent Coronavirus outbreak has introduced a number of very interesting questions regarding the way we do church.
One way that we can look at the ministry of Jesus as fulfilling the Law and the Prophet’ is from the perspective of contagion. The purity laws of the Torah describe a contagion of death and impurity. For example, one becomes unclean or impure by touching a dead body. In contrast, Jesus brings a ministry in which life and purity are contagious. When Jesus touches a dead body, instead of becoming unclean from the presence of death, Jesus transmits life and the dead are raised. This is part of what we proclaim when we declare that in the Resurrection, Jesus defeated sin and death.
As we look back to the current situation with Covid-19, we hear that on average the virus spreads from one infected person to 2 or 3 others. This results in exponential spread and our current social distancing efforts seek to reduce or slow this rate of transmission.
I wonder what would happen if we started to look as well at the contagion of Hope with which we are entrusted in the same way. What if we sought out to transmit a contagious hope to two or three people, a hope that they would transmit to two or three additional people. Perhaps we would have to look at the ways that we have socially distanced the hope of the Gospel from our own daily lives, the ways the we have been infected by idolatry, fear, sin, and the culture of death that surrounds us. We might have to even look at the way we have distanced ourselves from those who most need to be infected by hope.
Who will you infect with Hope this week?