Friday Sermon Series: Will the Coronavirus Teach Us Humility?

We must always remember we are not invincible

It is truly amazing what humanity has achieved. We have been to the moon. We have sequenced the human genome. We can even design babies. In my field of critical care medicine, diseases that uniformly killed not that long ago are now survivable. It doesn’t mean that we should do all that we can do, and it is amazing all the while.

Indeed, all of this advancement is from God:

And all of this amazing advancement has made us arrogant. We have arrogated to ourselves omnipotence, omniscience, and total independence of anyone or anything. And then, we become rebellious:

Out of this rebellion, we have done truly awful things. We have bombed hospitals and killed doctors. We have imprisoned millions of people in “re-education camps.” We have discriminated against others, and we have taken advantage of those who have no power to defend themselves. If we think nothing can stop us, horror soon follows.

Then comes this virus. Invisible. Indetectable. Easily destructible. And it has brought humanity to its knees.

There are many lessons this pandemic will teach. It will teach that incompetent leadership leads to deadly consequences. It will teach that political expediency must never take precedence over the preservation of life. It will teach that the good of the whole — many times — must take precedence over personal convenience. It will teach that whatever inconvenience we may suffer, there are those — no less worthy than we — that have it much worse and are not as fortunate.

What other lessons will we heed as we are forced to “shelter in place” and not get our coffee like we are accustomed? I must admit, as a critical care physician who is going to take care of these patients, I am scared. I’m uncomfortable with the fact that I am not totally in control, and that I could get sick and die from this invisible menace in my workplace.

That’s the whole point. I am not totally in control. The Lord our God is. And to He I must always seek return for safety.

And this pandemic must teach us that we are not invincible. We cannot do anything we want just because we can. We cannot harm and destroy and pillage without any regard to right and wrong. We must always live by the premise that right is might, and not the other way around.

So many people have died. So many have become injured. The lives and livelihoods of millions are threatened. It is a frightening time. And so, let us turn to the Divine. We need to do what we can to help stem the tide of the invisible menace. And, all the while, asking Him for His help, His protection, and His soothing presence.

There is nothing we can’t do if we come together. That is true. The togetherness of which we speak must necessarily include the Lord our God. With Him, there is no defeating us.

Lord our God, Lord of Hosts, Healer of every malady, lift the siege of this scourge from us.

Protect our families from the menace of this invisible killer.

Protect the lives of the vulnerable and the infirm.

Bless the scientists and researchers tirelessly working to find a cure for this disease.

Bless and protect the clinicians putting their lives on the line treating Your children afflicted by this pandemic. Keep the virus away from them. Give them the strength and fortitude to care for the sick.

Bless our livelihoods and protect us from poverty and deprivation.

And, Blessed Precious Beloved, see us through this uncertain time.

In Your Most Holy Name, O Lord, I ask this. Amen.

Reflections on Faith by Hesham A. Hassaballa. Books: “Beliefnet Guide to Islam” and “Noble Brother,” the Prophet Muhammad’s story entirely in poetry.