Monday, March 15, 2021

Book Review


God and the Pandemic

A Christian Reflection on the Corona virus and its Aftermath 

                               --  By:  N.T Wright 


Let’s start by learning more of N.T. Wright.  Wright is a research professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrew and a senior research fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.  Previously he was Bishop of Durham, Canon Theologian of Westminster, Dean of Litchfield and fellow, tutor and chaplain of Worcester College, Oxford.  He is also the author of over eighty books.  I became familiar with his work when I started a Lenten devotion he had written for the You Version Bible App.   

 The book is short (only 80+ pages) and was written in July 2020 soon after the pandemic had begun and when we were all hoping it would be short lived.  He states the aim of this book is not to offer solutions to the questions raised by the pandemic but to help us resist the knee jerk reactions which are so easy to accept. He feels we need a time of lament, of restraint.  He feels if we spend time in the prayer of lament, new light may come.

Wright begins with the Hebrew Scriptures and asks us to consider how early Jewish people responded to their tragedy of the Babylonian exile. He guides us through some of the Psalms and the book of Job.  Wright suggests “we are simply to lament, we are to complain, we are to state the case, and leave it with God”.  

He then turns to Jesus and the New Testament.  He uses stories from the Bible to point us to how early Christians responded to the tragedies of their times.  Wright notes that these early Christians do not attempt to lay blame, call for repentance or assume that Jesus is returning soon.  Rather, “they ask three simple questions: 

  1. Who is going to be at special risk when this happens? 
  1. What can we do to help? 
  1. And who shall we send?”  
Wright reminds us throughout history; Jesus’ followers have started hospitals, cared for the wounded, fed the hungry and tended to the dying. 

Early in this book Wright refers to the “End Times” and how many Christians feel the pandemic is heralding these times.  I find it difficult to explain how, but Wright develops a clear argument of how he feels that this is NOT what the pandemic is about.  Instead Wright takes the reader through the Gospels and explains that Jesus is God’s sign and that God’s kingdom is now.  You will have to read this book yourself as I found my own ideas about God and Jesus changed as I read both the book and the scriptures Wright uses. The author wants the reader to look at what is happening, to be prayerful and look for what may come.     

E-book is available on Amazon for $5.99 

 Thanks to Linda Cliff for this week's blog.






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