Covid19 – Part 1, 2020


“There’s something happening here.

But what it is ain’t exactly clear….

Everybody look-what’s going down?”

American Folk Song 1966-70 – The Buffalo Springfield band

This protest song reached its peak of popularity during the 1970 shooting of American students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State, Ohio. Although not of the same “happening”, by it’s sad and eerie lament 50 years later, this song may contain some of the unbelievability and uncertainty of the present COVID-19 pandemic. It may even prepare us for the possibility of another “happening here”, ie) COVID -19, part 2.

Most of us have no personal memories of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic which killed more people worldwide than all the deaths of World War 1. Then came the Great Depression of the 1930s and World War 2, which ended 75 years ago.

How did our older parents and grand parents cope with all those years of fear and death?  Was their faith stronger than ours? Their churches never closed, so in spite of the present on line mass, perhaps their spirits were better fed than ours? They also did not rely on emails, Face time, family zooms, TV analysis, and Netflix.

Today in 2020, scientists around the world are working at full speed to produce a vaccine for the almost certain outbreak of COVID-19, part 2. Canadians did not begin to contain the COVID-19 virus until March.

Since then almost 9,000 Canadians have been killed by the pandemic, of which embarrassingly, 80% of the deaths happened in care homes for the elderly. Our present economy’s collapse appears worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Will the many new government programs gradually restore our good health and economy? Canadians realize that our return to prosperity hinges on our American neighbours coming to grips with the pandemic.

Will their current president’s strange pandemic policies lead to his re-election on November 3? If elected, will he resort to a “blame China” program, and new economic programs that will lead to trade wars…and worse?

Maybe in this time of global fear and death it is worthwhile to learn how a person from similar times grew to trust and love the Lord God. Etty Hillesum, was a Dutch Jew who kept a diary of her life during the Nazi Holocaust. She never denied the horror of the 6 million murdered people, yet because of her own mystical faith, she refused to see herself as a victim.

Writing from inside one of the death camps, she mentioned that some people deliberately committed suicide by running into the electric fences that surrounded the death camps. But not Etty.

From the depths of her faith in a loving God she wrote: “The Nazis think they have me under their control. They don’t.” Her father, mother and brother were killed, and on November 30, 1943 Etty was murdered in Auschwitz. She was 29.

Lord in this troubling time; please teach us to use the love and faith of Etty Hillesum, especially if there is to be a COVID -19, part 2.

PS    One more request Lord. In the last few years we your creatures have slowly been working together to prevent a climate disaster. If we can learn to contain COVID-19, part 2, please let us see that it might not be too late for us also to save your beautiful world.

Richard Grover is a retired history and religion teacher from St. Paul's High School in Winnipeg.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 01:27h, 10 August Reply

    Thank you Richard!

  • graeme quinlan
    Posted at 08:14h, 10 August Reply

    Reading through Richards post I was suddenly drawn to Psalm 91. which is headed[ Assurance of Gods Protection} — You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord my refuge and my fortress; my God in whom I trust.” for He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. So I say in God alone is my trust, May it also be yours.

  • Murray Grant
    Posted at 12:25h, 10 August Reply

    Richard, I enjoyed your questions simply because I lived as a child in those very tough times in the Thirties, so I can answer some.

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