Socially, economically, and politically the time of COVID-19 in the Pacific has been a mixed one. In one way it has been apocalyptic (literally an “uncovering” or “unmasking”); truths about the region’s true political economy can no longer be denied. On the other hand, the COVID-19 era has provided opportunities for governments to “mask” and cover up inconvenient truths of the region.
These systems of oppression, much like the golden calf, do not represent the God of love and righteousness. Instead, the fashioning of what can be tamed points to our depraved greed, moral bankruptcy, and the diabolical strategies we employ for survival.
Our only hope is that the God who will raise us, the God whose justice is glorified, will eventually make all things right. Our trust in our just God should be evident in our words and our works as we live out the proclamation of the gospel.
The two stories of Luke 15:1–10, which we might call “parables of the remainder,” illustrate a core component of the Christian political orientation. That is, they highlight the alternative logic of much of the Judeo-Christian scriptures that urges us to foster solidarity in community through identification with the remainder, with the least of these, and to thereby bring justice and liberation.
Fostering cross-cultural and cross-racial friendships of listening are essential to creating virtuous and just societies, especially in a fractured political climate that fails to serve the human good.
There seems to be, then, a road not yet taken by political theologians in North America and Europe: to participate with Arab thinkers in the work of writing comparative political theologies that decolonize knowledge and seek a more just alternative to the world as it stands.
Not merely a time for ‘leisure’ or ‘recharging’, the notion of sabbath involves deep concepts of justice.