Top 7 Things the Coronavirus Has Made Me Thankful For – Pastor John Van Sloten


Top 7 Things The Coronavirus Has Made Me Thankful For

7. An Immune System that Works – Two days ago I was standing in the pain-killer aisle of my local food store staring at an empty shelf where the ibuprofen used to be. Beside me was a woman who appeared quite anxious. After a bit of COVID 19 small talk I told her that her body’s immune system fights up to 50,000 pathogenic battles ever hour (without her ever knowing it). After a short pause, she smiled and thanked me for the perspective.

6. Always Available Food – Continuing my shop I noticed how busy the store was for a Monday morning. People were stockpiling (full-disclosure, I was too — for two-weeks-worth of supplies as recommended by the Federal Minister of Health). For the first time in my life I thought about the vulnerability of my food supply. While so many people on our planet face daily food scarcity, I never have. Putting the morality of having whatever I want, whenever I want, from anywhere in the world, aside, I felt pretty grateful for this unnamed daily abundance.

5. Global Supply Chains – Environmental impacts and ethical sourcing concerns aside, this virus has also reminded me of how well global supply chains work. When everything is operating as it should, and shelves are full, nobody ever notices all that goes on behind the scenes. Yet, when a few Chinese cities shut down the rest of the world is profoundly impacted. Which made me think that one upside of a globalized economy is the fact that we need each other. This viral scare has affirmed humanity’s interdependence.

4. How Consumerism is Exposed – Watching everyone stock up on the basics was also grounding for me. People aren’t scrambling to buy TVs, phones or shoes. The potential impacts of this virus remind us of what really matters — good health, food and safe shelter. As I worry (just a bit) about my octogenarian parents (a demographic that is particularly vulnerable to the virus) I am reminded of how important my relationships are. Who really needs that next car or vacation when we’ve got each other?

3. Seeing the Connection between Consumerism and Environmental Degradation – See NASA photos of China’s air quality levels (with and without the pollution generated by Hubei province manufacturing) below;

2. Universal (free) Healthcare – When I ponder a worst-case COVID 19 scenario (God help us) I am reminded of the fact that I live in Canada (where health care is a human right). Never have I received medical treatment and wondered if I would be able to afford it. As a Canadian who is sometimes tempted to complain about wait times I am again reminded of the very good thing I get to wait for.

1. Lungs that Breathe – As I learn about how COVID 19 can lead to respiratory failure I am again reminded of the gift of breath. For my entire life my lungs have faithfully oxygenated my blood and exhaled carbon dioxide. With every breath I am reminded that “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:14, NIV

So I am going to be thankful as I face this epidemic… and prudent… and prayerful (for those who’ve lost loved one’s and are struggling to catch their next breath).

*Coronavirus image -

Read More →

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” IS 43

One of my favourite texts!

I just wrote this yesterday as a concluding thought for the introduction of my faith/science book:


Through the prophet Isaiah God says:

“See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you…. I am doing a new thing…. From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you. They are created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today. So you cannot say, ‘Yes, I knew of them.’” Isaiah 42:9, 43:19, 48:6-7, NIV

Even as Isaiah’s contemporaries had trouble imagining what God had in store through the coming of Jesus, it stretches us to think that the Jesus we know now (through the gospels) can also be known through creation. Yet, what else could contain the glory of God apart from a universe?

Theologian Walter Brueggemann writes; “If there is any point at which most of us are manifestly co-opted [by the commonly accepted view of reality], it is in this way. We do not believe that there will be newness but only that there will be merely a moving of the pieces into new patterns…. ”

To believe that God can be known through creation — in concert with the bible, in an authoritative, epiphany-inducing, life-transforming, all-things-filling way — is to trust that God can and will do something new.

Brueggemann goes on to write, “We need to ask not whether it is realistic or practical or viable but whether it is imaginable.”

Read More →