Image via Travis Bara

As the plague continued to spread with every cough, they blamed a lunar eclipse and the malignant forces of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars for deadly vapors arriving on currents of air, passing into the blood stream. They hypothesized that this “corrupted air … penetrates to the heart” and “destroys the life force.” From where else could this curse have come? A product of “divine will” they decreed, and urged the people “to return humbly to God.”

4-03-2020

As the nation tries to slow the advance of the coronavirus pandemic, most of the nation is engaged in responsible social distancing. In this episode of our Sunday Sermon in a Pandemic series, Sojourners Executive Director Adam Taylor and Rev. Jim Wallis share their thoughts on biblical teachings that can guide us through these times when the staggering devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic ravages our nation — and the world — after months of unconscionable inaction by President Trump.

Aaron E. Sanchez 4-03-2020

President Donald Trump listens to a question during the daily coronavirus response briefing at the White House in Washington, April 2, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

COVID-19 ignores the social constructs we've made to disregard one another. 

Jim Wallis 4-02-2020

FILE PHOTO: A doctor wears a protective mask as he walks outside Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan in New York City. April 1, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid

The likely death toll numbers confirmed this week by medical authorities as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are staggering.

Jennifer Butler 4-01-2020

Faith leaders are working creatively to spread the word about the census by posting information on social media, preaching on the census during remote worship services, and placing op-eds in local outlets. We will not let a global pandemic stop us from making sure every person in this country receives the representation and resources they deserve.

Michael Rothbaum 4-01-2020

We have survived catastrophe in the past. And not just survived – ultimately, we thrived.

Sarah Jobe 4-01-2020

Photo by Katherine Gu on Unsplash

This past Sunday, some of the only Christians legally permitted to gather in person for worship in many states were those of us who gathered for worship in prisons. I am a chaplain at a women’s minimum custody prison, and I welcomed my congregation to worship with the words, “Tonight we are not just worshipping for ourselves. We are standing in the gap for Christians in the whole state and in much of the nation who are not permitted to gather together to read the lectionary, say the Lord’s Prayer, or celebrate the Eucharist.'

3-31-2020

CBPP President Bob Greenstein examines what the $2 trillion stimulus bill means for Americans.

Jamar A. Boyd II 3-30-2020

Barbara Jordan  September 25, 1974. Image via Wikimedia Commons. 

Being black in America is a privilege coupled with unique challenges. The privilege is possessing a heritage authentic to only our diaspora no matter how littered and pained our history may be. As a black man, I did not understand the challenges wholly until I grew older. For black women, the challenges are similar but with added layers that exist because of our American male driven capitalistic based economic silo.

The plague of Florence in 1348, as described in Boccaccio's Decameron. Etching by L. Sabatelli after himself. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. 

Between 1347 and 1352, 'The Great Mortality' touched a third of Europe's population. 

Jim Wallis 3-26-2020

A woman recites the "Our Father" with a rosary in her hand in the window of her home, in Grosseto, Italy, March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

As President Trump has said he’d like to see “packed churches all over our country” on Easter Sunday to help him re-open the country and restart the economy, which he apparently thinks will help him get re-elected, we need the words of the Lord’s Prayer more than ever. The call to reopen comes despite the exact opposite instructions from health are professionals, along with governors and mayors across our nation, to maintain our social distance and closures until the danger of this modern plague are past us. Trump’s dangerous invitation to take our worship and prayers back into our churches before it is safe to do so is not only monstrous political irresponsibility, but religious sacrilege.

The church is called to meet Jesus in the streets with the homeless — for in a time when people are called to shelter in place they have no place to go. The church must also meet Jesus in places like Flint, Mich. where poor people who are already suffering from respiratory conditions related to contaminated water are amongst those at highest risk.

Melody Zhang 3-26-2020

Pedestrians are reflected off a window as they walk past boarded-up businesses in the Hayes Valley district after California Gov. Gavin Newsom implemented a statewide "stay at home order." March 21, 2020. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

In this moment, Chinese and Asian American communities are facing the double stress of having to reckon with the racism and xenophobia they encounter, compounded with having to deal with the virus outbreak itself.

Jim Antal 3-26-2020

German energy supplier and utility RWE is reflected in a puddle in Neurath, north-west of Cologne, Germany, Feb. 5, 2020. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

We can make radical change more quickly than we imagined. COVID-19 and climate change demand nothing less. 

Terence Lester 3-25-2020

Volunteer sets up portable hand-washing station. Credit: Dani Andujo, Love Beyond Walls. 

Lecrae and Pastor Terence Lester teamed up to build portable hand-washing stations. 

3-25-2020

Jim Wallis speaks with Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician, public health leader, and a passionate advocate for patient-centered health care reform.  

NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci and ‪Vice President Mike Pence‬ listen as President Donald Trump leads the daily coronavirus response briefing at the White House in Washington, March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

I suspect Trump thought I, a pastor, would be overjoyed by this news. After all, Easter is the most sacred day of the Christian year. It is the day we celebrate life over death and hope over fear. The thought of watching my congregation gather on Zoom for this holiest of days has left me sad and discouraged. I’ve silently mourned each week that my congregation cannot sing together, or share meals or hugs. Instead, we click a link to see each other’s faces appears in the grid of a computer monitor.

An employee of Hamilton Medical AG tests a ventilator at a plant in Domat/Ems, Switzerland March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

That’s the hard decision facing us, we’re told: Sacrifice lives or sacrifice the economy. This is a false choice. Sacrifice is necessary, but it doesn’t have to be lives or our common well-being.

J. Dana Trent 3-24-2020

Our breath is our life source, God within us, all day, every day.

Miguel Petrosky 3-24-2020

A worker in a protective suit disinfects the St. Antuan Catholic church in Istanbul, Turkey March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Kemal Aslan

Despite the switch of rhetoric on the coronavirus in the past week from both President Trump and Fox News, some church leaders still refuse to close their doors. They tend to fall into a few different camps.