It is a time of real distress as the coronavirus takes its toll in so many different ways. For some it is literally an issue of life and death. For others it is livelihood that is at stake. For others again it means mental health and general wellbeing coming under threat. For many it means plans and hopes being shelved or abandoned. For most it means economic and financial pressures. And that is not the last of it.
For underneath all the presenting issues, there is an existential crisis to be faced – a crisis of the human person. Who are we and what is our purpose? We have been challenged at so many levels by the pandemic and one thing this has perhaps revealed is how far the human person has been surrendered to the “false gods” that have asserted themselves in the modern world. Is it time to recover the dignity and vocation of our humanity?
As we navigate the stormy waters of the pandemic, we need to be attentive both to the human heart and to the big global issues. Covid-19 has allowed us to see how exclusive and destructive is the way of life we have developed in late modernity. Crisis can be turned to opportunity and there seems to be a widespread sense that, as a human community, we need to re-set. Faith has a role here and it is territory where different religious traditions might find common ground and common cause.
As Christian faith is rethought in this context, might it be time to return to its founding vision of transforming discipleship – of our own hearts being transformed through our encounter with Christ and our whole life being called into a mission of transformation that moves the world in a new direction? This begins with a recovery and renewal of our authentic human personhood – something that comes intensely into focus with the call of Jesus: “follow me.”