The Pandemic Lessons
Dr. John K. Mathew
I still remember the days of State of Emergency in India, between 1975–1977. There was widespread criticism against it, and it was true that it jeopardized human rights in some parts of India. The superpower of the Government and Police was misused by some Politicians and Administrators. But at the same time, its advantages were incredible: it taught the Indian people what discipline is.
Trains ran on time. Schools and Colleges functioned well. Government offices maintained discipline and dignity. Strikes and bribe disappeared!
COVID-19 reminds me of those days of Emergency in India. I think it brought some sort of discipline in our country especially among Pentecostals. It was sad to see that even our funeral services had turned into a sort of celebration. The Kerala Pentecostals always seemed to be in a mood of picnics, conventions, fasting prayer, other spiritual gatherings–and literally anything. And now it appears like we have learned that we can survive without many things we were used to in the past – much of which was just a reflection of the overflow of wealth for Pentecostals in certain parts of Kerala.
Yet, we are still haunted by some ‘Baby Zoomers’; Almost every preacher can be seen with a background of bookcases, suggesting that they are bookworms: Books can be kept in the shelf or in the ‘self’! Some popular preachers stream their private prayers for public attention suggesting they are always on their knees; Prayer, even if it is private God hears, and to be true it has to be private, for it to be heard. Our people know how to exploit any and every situation.
A few in the leadership revealed their arrogance and ignorance even during these pandemic days.
As usual, slanderers never fail to fulfill their strategy of personal destruction; politicians are politicians.
The lesson is: Some people can't be disciplined by a State of Emergency. Some people can't be disciplined by a Pandemic. Some people can't be disciplined by just anything. But this could have been a time the Pentecostals learned that spirituality can be maintained in silence and solitude.
In conclusion, there is a definition about history: “One thing we learn from history is that nobody ever learns anything from history.”