Are pandemics considered natural disasters

EvangelicalFrankfurt and Offenbach

In the corona pandemic, too, there were clergy again, fortunately only a few, who declared the virus as retribution for the sins of the people. This, as it were, draws a line. However, especially in crises, a new beginning is necessary, rethinking is called for. Because: It mustn't come like this again!

Repentance is a collective task. Now that the sins of the past have caught up with us in connection with Corona - the consumption of cheap meat, unequal educational opportunities, limitless growth and a lack of sustainability - it is part of the prophetic office of the church to measure reality against the will of God and to point out failures. The warning urges improvement.

God doesn't want people to die, even if they have sinned. But that they reorient themselves and take a path that better corresponds to God's will. Punishment doesn't help. Just punishment must distinguish the guilty from the innocent. An epidemic doesn't do that. The people who died or became seriously ill because of Covid-19 are not “their own fault”. When there is an epidemic or a natural disaster, those who are most responsible for the misfortune do not suffer the most. But many innocent people.

Appreciating those who suffer means drawing the right conclusions from their fate responsibly and eliminating grievances. So one can understand the withdrawal of public life with contact bans and infection protection measures as a partly enforced, partly self-imposed fasting period: We exercise restraint in many things, and this opens up the space to reflect on the essentials and to think about future criteria for a " good life". We can only make sense of it if the pandemic triggers changes in our priorities and we use the devastating damage as an opportunity.

Christianity has tried again and again to learn from catastrophes, used them as a time of critical and humble reflection on the right thing and perceived it as God's call to break out of fatal entanglements. It is true that it is often argued that God should not allow disaster. But because God has given us the freedom to act, we also have to scoop up the soup that we have got ourselves. We must live with the consequences of our freedom and responsibility as God waits with mercy and patience and postpones His judgment until Judgment Day.

In the crisis, God does not turn away, but rather: shows admonishing undesirable developments, is comforting to those who suffer - and precisely in this he proves to be “systemically relevant”. A God who was just now withdrawing from his people as a punishment would actually have no pastoral warmth and would be dispensable.