Faith, hope and love in a time of COVID-19

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By Kate Davies

The unfolding of the Covid 19 pandemic is a tragedy of global proportions, bringing with it an immeasurable breadth and depth of human suffering and panic. How do we find hope in such uncertain times? How do we respond and sustain a steadfast faith?

Embedded in all our faith traditions are stories of suffering and hardship, of plagues, famines and pestilence, of loneliness and despair. Through these, we are tested to the limits. But, we are called to be strong and very courageous, to meditate and pray, to show love and compassion and to have faith in spite of great adversity. We need to be patient and reassured by the rhythms and cycles of nature. While there may be devastation and destruction, we know that just as spring brings new life after winter and dawn follows the darkest night, all things will pass.

We are currently dealing with the immediate crisis as best we are able. Our leaders are navigating uncharted waters. Some of us are staying at home, often in appalling conditions of overcrowding or loneliness and threatened by fear of violence, hunger and deprivation. Some of us are on the front, providing medical care, support and essential social services. Some are growing, supplying, selling and sharing food to sustain us. We are learning fast about the meaning of community and social co-operation.

But what about the long term implications of Covid 19? Life as we’ve known it is unravelling and becoming frighteningly unpredictable and precarious. What happens once we have flattened the curve and our health care workers have gone home for an uninterrupted night’s sleep? The long term prospects are still terrifying: unemployment, hunger, poverty, financial collapse, debt, depression and anxiety, a depleted health care system and dysfunctional schools with unequal and lost learning opportunities. How do we rebuild our lives and our communities out of these ashes? Will our children ever know a time without crisis when the world we bequeath to them is one of continual and worsening environmental and social dislocation?[1]  Will we ever find the hope and courage to dream of a future?

Rekindling faith, hope and love beyond COVID-19

There can be a new story of hope but we must be prepared for it to be radical. When we are through with Covid 19, there is going to be an even bigger curve to flatten. Climate change will require the greatest sacrifice and adaptive response that the human family has ever mustered.

This will be a time to envision hope-filled new beginnings as we read that the pandemic is: “An opportunity to reset human history.” [1]  “A portal – a gateway between one world and the next.” [2]      “A stark opportunity for a deep industrial and economic planetary reboot.” [3]   “A time of hope for humanity and the planet in a more stable new normal.”[4]  “An opportunity to build a transformed society based on a new set of values.” [5]

What does this mean for us as people of faith? The benchmarks of happiness can no longer be measured by economic growth, excessive wealth and material possessions, individualism and its spoils for a few, of free market capitalism. There will be sacrifices as we reject business as usual.   In his reassuring and inspirational way, Charles Eisenstein, known to many in the SAFCEI community, says that the pandemic is showing us that when humanity is united in common cause, phenomenally rapid change is possible. It is an opportunity to build an intentional society on love that is already shining through the cracks of the world of separation.” [6] Now, more than ever, we need collective visionary and ethical leadership that upholds values over individual self-aggrandisement. Leadership that is guided by faith, hope, compassion, generosity and love. Now is the time for people of faith to read the signs, to lead the way and to act with urgency. Our burdens will be lightened if we share the load. Great will be the delight as we watch the unfolding of a flourishing earth community that emerges from the ashes of Covid 19.

[1]Sam Sole Amabhungane #Earth Crimes,  7 April 2020

[2]Evangelical World Alliance:

[3] Arundati Roy “The pandemic is a portal.” 3 April 2020.

[4]Sam Sole Amabhungane #Earth Crimes, 7 April 2020.

[5]Evangelical World Alliance:

[6] Jeremy Lent. Coronavirus Spells the End of the Neoliberal Era. 2 April 2020. What’s Next?

[7] Charles Eisenstein, March 2020. The Coronation

Featured Image Source: Norman Rockwell Museum,