A Great Debate
There is a great debate if we should talk more about the “good news” of the people that have survived or if we continue exhorting the people to keep taking precautions and avoid the infection with this virus that has demonstrated being capable of sickening almost a million people in a matter of a few months. It is true that some people have been able to recover, but it is also true that these same people have been through a very difficult and traumatic time in their lives. I can imagine that these people are no longer the same, because after being exposed to the virus, they also saw the reality of being aware that many other people did not survive. When we encounter the reality that a close family member is a victim of the virus, and a known and loved person already lost the battle, it is very difficult to talk about good news.
It is also very difficult to find consolation in the fact that other people may by going through a more difficult situation than ours. It is true, I have been a witness of the suffering and scarcity with which many other people live, which I can imagine that they suffer more than I do. But instead of finding consolation in their greater pain, what I find is a sense of burden because I have been “privileged.” The greater pain of another person never should be consolation for our pain, but a motivation of concern because this world is full of pain. Our lesser suffering can be considered as an opportunity to struggle so that other people may suffer less.
We all know that the coming days will be very complicated in many ways, and I do not say it because I am a prophet, but because I am a participant observer. I have no doubt that traveling will be more difficult, there will be risks, and there will be new questions that we cannot even imagine. Relationships between the members of the family, between friends, with unknown people, and even the gatherings of faith communities will be marked by these difficult experiences.
For our wellbeing, and the wellbeing of our loved ones, for the wellbeing of the human race, we should pay attention to the news, and we should follow the recommendations of those whose experience and expertise may guide us to make the right decisions. It is opportune to discern between rumors and truth s, between opinions and evidence, between illusory solutions and solutions based in the best information available at the time. I believe that it is more profitable to take preventive precautions than wait for corrective remedies.
Today, as in every crisis moment, we need people with character and integrity, with intelligence and imagination, with dedication and commitment, to be willing to be leaders, even at the cost of their personal prestige and gain. We need truthful leaders, we need leaders that pay attention to educated people, that may be examples of common sense, intelligent decisions, and of compassion. Again, we need to look at the horizon with discernment, determination and with bravery. Maybe it is because of this that we have the opportunity of being witnesses, agents, and participants in this crisis moment.
In spite of the dark and turbulent horizon, I cannot and I do not want to surrender to the bad news. On the contrary, I firmly believe the Good News that after the darkness of Good Friday, the luminous reality of Resurrection Sunday is a sure fact. Jesus himself has been our model. In place of reducing himself to complain about the disgrace of the one who fell into the thieves’ hands, Jesus invites us to have compassion like the Samaritan, that extended his helping and restoring hand to the half-dead wounded. I believe in the Gospel (the Good News) that this crisis is not the last word of our existence. On the contrary, like the prophets and heroes and heroines of the Biblical story, we can persevere as though we see the Invisible One (Hebrews 11:27).
Christians have the call and the opportunity to shine in the midst of this darkness. The Church has the responsibility to believe, to live, and to act in such a way that the whole world may glorify God as a result of our significant acts resulting in the wellbeing of others. The Church has the responsibility and the opportunity not to flirt with those that take advantage of the crisis for personal gain, but to be an example of solidarity, compassion, empathy and justice. If there is anything that comforts and strengthens me daily, is the remembrance of men, women, and youth in the churches in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and other places where I have had the opportunity to serve. Their faith and example have shown me that we can still celebrate and proclaim the Good News, not in comparison with the greater suffering of others, but by joining one another in the name of Christ, so that other people may not have to suffer any more.
—Rev. David Cortés Fuentes, PhD.
Presbyterian Church (USA)