Jon R. Black

There is a verse in the Bible that states, “Faith is the evidence of things not seen.” COVID-19 brings new meaning to this verse. An unseen virus has greatly changed our world.

Last week, pastors across our nation preached their Holy Week sermons in empty sanctuaries. Congregations participated in worship by utilizing live streaming and teleconferencing technology.

We spend most of our time at home. When we go out, we wear masks and gloves. Most of us have stockpiles of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and disposable disinfectant wipes. Our pantries and shelves are filled with enough food to feed an army.

Even our vocabulary has expanded to accommodate this unseen virus. Terms like “coronavirus,” “social distance,” “sheltering at home,” “fomite,” “community spread,” “contact tracing,” “index case,” “self-quarantine” and “super spreader” seem to roll off our tongues as if these terms have been in regular use for years.

The stock market has become extremely volatile, racing up and down in response to the latest bit of good or bad news. National governments are pumping trillions of dollars into the economy in hopes of lessening the impact of this pandemic on the markets.

The most profound effect of this unseen presence has been sickness and death. In many cities throughout all the world, health care workers daily put their lives on the line to treat those who are ill.

Arenas, hotels and cruise ships have been converted into medical units. Drive-by testing units are becoming common.

There is another unseen force in our world. We are aware of its presence when we watch the nightly news. People all over the globe are committing random acts of kindness, acts of great courage and sacrifice and tremendous deeds of faith. While the markets race up and down, creativity and human ingenuity have reached new heights.

Teachers across the nation are coming up with new and clever ways of connecting with their students online. Musicians and artists are offering free online concerts. Restaurants, struggling with their own financial challenges, are feeding first responders and health care workers at no cost.

Practicing social distancing, people are visiting neighbors to observe special days or to celebrate their recovery from the virus. Nurses are offering themselves as surrogate family to the dying. Those who have recovered from the virus donate their antibodies to help others.

People seem to be doing whatever they can to make the world a better place. There is a dancer who dances in the front yards of sick children. There is an artist who teaches children how to doodle. There is a social worker who is providing the homeless with masks and gloves.

People around the world are responding to the unseen forces of love, compassion and faith. We, humans, reveal our true nature when tragedy strikes. We discover our core being in the face of adversity. When life gets tough, we eliminate the boundaries that separate us.

For me, this phenomenon reveals the unseen force of our common humanity. We are all brothers and sisters.

The Rev. Dr. Jon R. Black is senior pastor at Campbell Chapel A.M.E. Church in Bluffton.