We Empathy trumps troubles and tribulation, says a new Bible study from the World Council of Churches.
Inspired by Jesus’ Farewell Discourse in the Gospel of John, the meditation by human-rights advocate Jennifer Philpot-Nissen argues that, though the Bible is certainly cognizant of tribulations, its overarching counsel is to transcend our travails through empathetic engagement in alleviating the troubles of others.
The pandemic has caused widespread illness and death, she says, but also surfaced ugly currents of discrimination and injustice, evident in examples from around the world.
“While the virus does not discriminate,” the author asks, “can we say the same about ourselves, and about our responses to it? Jesus’ promise – that we will experience tribulation during our lives – is repeated throughout the Bible, but so are instructions for how we should behave toward others at all times.”
The Bible study asks readers to tap their own spiritual wellsprings of empathy and offers readers ten empathetic ways to respond to the pandemic.
“Spread only the contagion of love, make it as infectious as possible!”
The new study is the latest in a series of biblical reflections composed in response to the coronavirus pendemic and published as Healing the World.
Author Jennifer Philpot-Nissen serves the World Council of Churches as programme executive for Human Rights and Disarmament in the WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs.
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