How the Pandemic Shaped Us
By Megan Fowler

In a new essay collection, “Christ in the Time of Corona,” PCA pastors and members describe how COVID-19 has changed their lives. ByFaith recently spoke with general editor Joshua Burdette about the inspir­ation for the project and his hopes for how the book will affect readers

What made you want to assemble a book of essays about coronavirus?

Christ is Lord over all, which means that every sphere and season of life must be lived before God. It struck me early on in the shutdown that COVID-19 was similar in its universality because nearly everything in life — from grocery shopping to corporate worship — was impacted by the virus. Overnight, we all had to learn how to live in a new world with a ton of new information to process.

“I hope readers will find more than theological observations. I hope they will find camaraderie.”

Every business emailed us its COVID-19 response plan. Christian ministries gave the Christian response to suffering and death. I stayed up at night reading the statistics of new cases from each day. Yet I soon realized that information wasn’t enough. I needed the stories of individual people coping with the pandemic. Maybe someone needed to hear my story.

So we wrote our stories about our experiences under COVID-19: smoking brisket, saying goodbye, making ice cream, loving our neighbors, preaching to a camera, going off to college, planting churches, parenting, and many others. All under the threat of disease but also in service to faith, hope, and love in Christ.

What have you learned through the pandemic and through this project?

There is power in telling and hearing stories — especially in suffering. As I received and read through these chapters, I encountered an honest wrestling with grief and longing. There were moments to weep along with the authors, but also a fair number of moments to laugh! 

More than anything, I received in these contributions a witness to the world to come. You’ll see it woven through every page. At times it’s the context that allows us to name and grieve the tragic consequences of the present world. Other times it’s the vision that empowers us to love our neighbors sacrificially and find ways to rejoice even in suffering.

What do you hope readers will learn from the book?

Early on, we asked our writers to befriend their readers rather than to simply teach them. Since many of us spend our days in ministry, there is a fair amount of Christian witness in these pages. But I hope readers will find more than theological observations. I hope they will find camaraderie. I hope they will come to the end of a chapter and think, “You too? I thought I was the only one.” 

Maybe someone will read a chapter and find the courage to write their own or pick up a phone and call someone. Perhaps this little collection of essays will help someone find Christ in the time of Corona.  

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