Funeral services are not really very easy times, and now with the restrictions on numbers who may attend and social distancing prohibiting the inability to give physical comfort those occasions are even harder for those who have lost a loved one.
We believe that life is precious and wonderful. Lives which have had a share of fulfilment, love and laughter, friends and family are the things most commonly celebrated in a Service of Thanksgiving for a departed love one. We believe there is something awry with any worldview that holds human life cheaply and is indifferent to suffering though so often mourning involves memories of pain and bereavement too is another form of pain.
Pain and suffering have been around since the year dot and we have all probably experienced these in some way or other before ever Covid-19 was a virus. For those who believe in the God of the Bible the existence of suffering is one of the challenges posed to belief in God and commonly expressed by asking if God is good and all powerful why then does he not stop all human suffering now, and banish the Covid 19 virus?
Some ask why God is allowing this current situation with the Corona virus which is the particular question arising in our time, but disease and plagues have been part of human experience for millennia. Stephen Fry in an interview in 2017 railed against a God who would allow suffering and expressed very strongly his anger against a God who was believed to be kind and all powerful and yet permitted the death of children through disease.
There is much to say in response and of course the answers bring more questions. Here is a good answer making use of Oscar Wilde’s book The Selfish Giant. It is an open letter in reply to Stephen Fry’s interview, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klPr708VWDk
God revealed in the bible through Jesus Christ is a loving God who has not given up on creation but who addressed the problems of creation by becoming part of it as fully human, who experienced personally suffering and injustice and somehow in his death experienced the full weight of human sin: our falling short of God’s standards and rebellion to his perfect laws. Furthermore, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead was the action that showed God had begun putting right the problems of this world in defeating death and making possible the gift of eternal life for all who believe.
Life is precious and wonderful and we are saddened by anything that despoils our time with disease, human unpleasantness, pain or injustice. So we do give thanks for all that is good, to God, for all we have and enjoy asking that we might bless others with what we can give that enhances lives with our love, kindness, support and comfort, fun and laughter.
But we know the big questions of life are never far away, death will always be present whether coming earlier than we anticipate or after many years. The question is are we ready to meet God, to go into eternity? Jeremy Marshall is the former CEO of the UK’s oldest private bank, C. Hoare & Co. who was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2016. He writes here about facing death https://www.psephizo.com/life-ministry/coronavirus-and-the-fear-of-death/
You might also enjoy:Justin Brierley, a broadcaster for Premier Christian Radio https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/Episodes/Unbelievable-Why-doesn-t-God-end-Coronavirus-and-mend-the-world-Justin-Brierley
Prof John Lennox’s short book titled, Where is God in a Coronavirus world? Reviewed here https://www.psephizo.com/reviews/where-is-god-in-a-coronavirus-world/
Rev Dr Ian Paul theological discussion on God’s will.
Every blessing as we all look out for one another. As ever please do get in touch for prayer requests or just for a chat!