Coronavirus and My Brother’s Keeper
The Coronavirus has upset the comfort of our daily routines and familiar habits. Many of us are confined to our homes, and when we go out, we are uncomfortably aware of other people and the distances we place between ourselves. Before Covid-19, I could go about my daily affairs and pay little attention to the people around me. In virus-time, I’m all too aware of the people around me.
On one hand, the virus causes us to shut ourselves away from the world; on the other, the virus makes it clear that the world is getting closer and closer to us. Global humanity is getting ever more closely interdependent and interrelated.
In the fourth chapter of Genesis scripture gives us the story of Cain killing his brother Abel. God confronts Cain and asks, “Where is your brother Abel?
Cain, in return, asks, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
There is no answer to that question in the verses immediately following. But the rest of the Bible is an answer, culminating in the life, teachings, and death of Jesus Christ and reinforced in the account of the spreading of the gospel and the writings of the apostles in the New Testament. There is no question in my mind that the answer is anything other than, “Yes. I am my brother’s keeper.”
We can have lengthy discussions about what our obligations are to the multitude of “brothers” around the world. Close social and physical proximity certainly makes our obligation greater. But, as the world grows ever smaller – as the virus is making us aware – it becomes increasing difficult to deny that what happens in my little territory can have an impact on people thousands of miles away with whom we have no relationship except for our shared humanity.
Cain asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Bible answers, “Yes, you are.”
In Closing, I say, “Lift High the Cross!”