By Presiding Elder Emeritus Rev. Carrell K. Cargle, Sr., of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
One morning, Friday, March 20, 2020, while meditating in The Upper Room Devotions Book, on the reading of John 9:1-25, I was touched and filled with questions as the spirit hit me as I reflected on the coronavirus that has moved across the world.
In John 9:1-25, Jesus saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Teacher,” his disciples asked him, “Why was this man born blind? Was it a result of his own sins or those of his parents? Jesus answered, “He was born blind so that the power of God could be seen in him.”
As I prayerfully meditated, these questions continued to come upon me. Just as in John 9, the news media has been pressing for answers from our president, his cabinet, and the medical experts like Dr. Fauci, similar to the disciples pressing Jesus for answers. People will press for answers amid trouble and the unknown. People will, unfortunately, press for answers while asking the wrong questions. Was this a fake crisis that came from a political play to gain more political power in the world? How much precedence should public health concerns have over economic concerns?
I have yet to hear a statement from any leaders in the faith community like those of the political, medical, and business communities. This silence has troubled me, as churches have often played a major role in communities and the nation when disaster strikes, especially in the Black community. Above all, the church’s absence from the conversation about the coronavirus has also absented the one who can change everything now, just as He did 2,000 years ago with the man born blind!
Those who are called by his name must speak out during this crisis, whether or not any media is around at first, for it is so that this coronavirus has come so that the power of God may be manifest in the United States and the world. Just as with the man born blind, the Lord wants to manifest His power to do the impossible even with a global plague like the coronavirus. God wants His people to remind the world that God is the one “who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name.”
God wants the church to take charge of leading people, in this fearful and anxious time, back to the God who does the impossible and defeats the unbeatable, even if there are no reporters and television cameras around. The Church must do this earnestly but first prayerfully according to 2nd Chro- nicle 7:14, “ If my people, which are called by name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
The Reverend Dr. Carrell K. Cargle, Sr. is the Presiding Elder Emeritus of the Christian Met- hodist Episcopal Church where he develops ministries to reach the needs of the people in local churches and communities. Rev. Dr. Cargle has pastored C.M.E. churches in the Midwest. He is a community activist, one of the founders of the OCOS (One Church One School) and the national president. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity; Past President respectively of the Urban League of Northwest Indiana; the Presiding Elders Council, of the C. M. E. Church; the Gary Police Civil Service Commission; and the Interfaith Clergy Council.