Internal Exile: Church in Pandemic Time

Internal Exile: Church in Pandemic Time April 8, 2020
In Estonia this year. . . they know difficulties going to Church.

Mary of Egypt spent forty-five years in prayer, exiled from the Church. In Soviet times, Russians sometimes had no close working church. Our bishops, for good or ill, are asking us to stay home this Holy Season. We can endure and the decision as Henry V points out is on the leaders, not the faithful.

The Church has endured worse problems, more difficult decisions by leaders, and endured, because Jesus is here. He is alive and all the ceremonies, history, creeds, councils all exist, because He exists. This is obscured, because of us, especially Christians.

God created humankind in God’s image, but mankind became determined to recreate God in our image. There can only be one God, logically, so instead of God we ended up with gods. What were these? Who can be sure? Perhaps, they were a strange mix of imagination, angels misunderstood, devils, and other beings that bumped into us over time. Some great philosophers, Plato being one, came to monotheism through reason. Monotheism was good, eliminating any confusion (outside of Internet atheism) that “gods” had anything to do with God.

God is absolute goodness, truth, beauty, justice. We might proclaim we love all of those attributes, but when we get close to them, they judge us. All but saints shudder when we see how short our systems, our nations, our lives fall short of absolute goodness. We shrink back. We make excuses, looking to soften the blow. Crying for justice is excellent, until God comes and asks us to be just.

Often we rebuke God as if He is Satan, because we hate having our own evil made evident to us. We pretend God is less than God. . .turning Him into a god in our image. This godling exists only in our imaginations, impotent, false, and so is powerless before reality. This is the godling over whom atheists can triumph in Soviet Russia and on Internet discussion forums. A man can pray to the false god, the idol of his imagination for his whole life, and nothing will happen.

We cannot talk, confess, assert, shout our way out of reality: physical and metaphysical. God is God, creator of a physical cosmos intertwining with numbers, ideas, and spiritual being. We are spiritual, but also physical beings. Humans need food and we need music. We need air, but we cannot thrive without mathematics. We are story tellers and hunters. We cannot go to virtual Church, only see what Church would be like if we could go. We wait, because our leaders, political and religious, tell us to do so.

Are they right?

Upon the king! let us our lives, our souls,
Our debts, our careful wives,
Our children and our sins lay on the king!

On a matter of morals, the individual must follow his conscience. On matter of polity, our leaders and on their heads be the choice. We can sleep the sleep of the innocent.

No corona Grinch can steal Easter, because Jesus is alive in Heaven with God. He is present with us right now and He is coming again to bring justice.

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