By Dr. Barry R. Huff, Representative from The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, MA to the Joint Action and Advocacy for Justice and Peace Convening Table of the National Council of Churches
A meditation on Romans 8:38–39 and Isaiah 43:1–5
As we practice social distancing, nothing distances us from God’s love. Paul proclaims: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38–39 NRSV). Like Paul, “I am convinced that” nothing—not even the coronavirus—can “separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Whether in China or the United States, Italy or Iran, a home or a hospital, everyone around the world dwells in God’s infinite embrace.
Those who feel like they’re in exile today can find comfort in this message written to exiles millennia ago: “thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isa 43:1–3 NRSV).
Out of the ashes of the Babylonian exile and in the face of COVID-19, the passage’s next verses reassure with promises both of God’s steadfast love—”you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you”—and of God’s salvific presence—”Do not fear, for I am with you” (Isa 43:4–5 NRSV).
As we pass through the waters of this global pandemic, our Savior is with us.