Preaching in a Period of Pandemic and Prejudice
It feels like we are living in an alternate universe. Is this really happening? When will we resume normal life as we knew it? When will churches regather without restrictions? When will we be able to enjoy Christian community such as fellowship meals again? When will we stop preaching to a faceless webcam? When will we stop wearing masks? Echoing the Psalmist, we ask, “How long, O Lord, how long?” These questions have played back over and over in my mind since the COVID-19 pandemic took over our lives in Spring of 2020.
This brief essay is not by any means an academic treatise. I will not be providing helpful sources in the endnotes. In fact, my writing style will be more conversational. Rather, the purpose of this article is to address candidly the hidden and overt prejudice that has been exacerbated as a byproduct of the
COVID-19 crisis resulting in myriad forms of racism, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, bigotry, hate crimes, murder, racial injustice, and more—in society and even in the church. We are a nation and world that is on edge. We are stressed and stretched out like never before. We are gratuitously paranoid of others. We have been conditioned by COVID-19 to distrust anyone and everyone. We have lost the ability to smile and exhibit social graces toward others. This has spawned heightened levels of fear, suspicion, anxiety, hatred, and even anger toward others erupting in explosive forms of prejudiced and racist behaviors.