The COVID-19 death toll reached the grim milestone of one million people today. Deaths have doubled during the past three months since late June, when the toll reached the 500,000 mark.
The marker comes just nine months after the World Health Organisation’s Country Office in the People’s Republic of China first picked up a media statement, by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission. It was from their website on cases of ‘viral pneumonia’ in the city of Wuhan, published on December 31.
As a global community, humanity is facing the milestone with grief.
Many are reflecting on the individuals known to them who have died or been effected by loss, due to COVID-19.
And, as Christians, there is an added cause for lament in the knowledge that every life lost was a person who was created in the image of, and loved by God.
Countless Bible passages and verses spring to mind: Jesus teaching with the story of a shepherd who works to save a single sheep; the woman who searches the house for a lost coin; Jesus’ awareness of a woman in need of healing touching his cloak in a crowd.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows,” Jesus taught in Luke 12:6–7 (NIV).
Today, as we consider these individual lives and take time to lament the loss and pain COVID has brought this year, our own words will undoubtedly fall desperately short.
And when they do, we can turn to the Psalms – the ancient prayerbook Christians have prayed for centuries – to express our hearts, no matter how we are feeling.
Feeling angry? Try Psalm 10, 44, 89 and 94. Grief? Try Psalm 4, 6, 18, 25, 31 and 88. Wanting to affirm your trust in God? Try Psalm 9, 20, 33 and 119.