From the Archbishop's desk: August 2020

By Archbishop Malcolm McMahon

The coronavirus has dominated our lives for the last few months and its effects have been devastating for individuals, families, society and the church. Nobody has escaped it: even if they haven’t been infected, they have been affected by it. It has made me ask why God allows viruses to exist. Human understanding has provided some answers for other germs like bacteria which can also have good effects like helping to digest food as well bad ones, but viruses just seem to be harmful and do no good at all. I don’t have an answer to this question; it just makes me realise how much we don’t know about God’s creation.
The awareness that we are vulnerable and often powerless in the face of a microbe so small that we cannot see it with the naked eye, makes me feel very humble and is a good antidote to the tendency to arrogance which can creep in to modern attitudes when we think we can solve all problems instantly. But we have not been abandoned by God. He is with us and we can look for and find signs of his presence. 

That’s not easy, I know, but I felt it when I stood on my doorstep to clap NHS and other key workers, or I read of scientists working night and day to find a vaccine. I also see his presence when I see the enormous voluntary effort that is being made to support families and individuals who have lost their income during this crisis. Our God who always gives us cause to hope is not hiding; he is sustaining us in everything we do.