“Mask and Murals: How the church emerges from the exile of pandemic and protest? ”
During the months of March and April of this year, there was much comparison about 2020 beginning to look like the year 1918. COVID-19 is not the first virus to cause a pandemic in the history of humanity. It will not be the last. In March 1918, a deadly strain of the flu virus was identified in a military camp in Kansas. Six months later it was worldwide. It would later become known now as The Spanish flu. By the time it is over half the world’s population had contracted it. It is perhaps the deadliest pandemic in the history of humankind. During the early months of 2020, there was much comparison of this year with 1918. Photos of people from 1918 resurfaced. They were wearing mask in public. Just like we are now. They were told to avoid crowds. Just like we are now.
By the time we got the end of May, it seemed that the year was beginning to look more like 1968, rather than 1918. On April 4th, 1968 Dr. Martin King was assassinated. Two months later in June Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. Cities like Washington DC, Chicago, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, New York and other cities experienced riots, deaths, the destruction of property. Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fist in protest at the Olympic games in Mexico City. Three names changed the narrative of the 2nd quarter of 2020. Ahmaud Arbery, Brianna Taylor and George Floyd reset the algorithm of the news cycles and national attention. In a strange way 1918 plus 1968 equals 2020. It’s bad math but if you think about, it makes sense. How should the church emerge from this exile? How should pastors provide Christian leadership in the age of social distancing?