BREAKING: God Tests Positive
March 16, 2020 – David R. Weiss
(City of Zion) HNN – In a stunning overnight development, the angel Gabriel (they/them), long serving as God’s press secretary, acknowledged in a hurriedly assembled morning press conference that El Shaddai, the Breasted One who fashioned and sustains heaven and earth, has tested positive for COVID-19, the coronavirus presently sweeping across the globe. Accompanied by archangel Michael (also, they/them), commander of the Heavenly Host, the two angels took questions for some time, although their answers rarely satisfied members of the world’s press corps.
The brief opening statement offered few details and read simply, “Almighty God, that One who is before all things, after all things, and for all things, has tested positive for the coronavirus known as COVID-19. As such, we in the Heavenly Realm now stand in full and vulnerable solidarity with Earth’s people. While we, saints and angels alike, do not know precisely what the future holds, we in Heaven remain committed to our partnership with Earth—including keeping all borders open for trade, travel, and mutual support. We appreciate your prayers even as we offer you ours.”
A reporter with Reuters asked how it was that God, Omnipotent Ruler of All, could be felled by a virus of their own creation. Gabriel explained, “Many humans have a wholly inaccurate perception of omnipotence. For the Holy One, power resides in presence, and presence presumes mutuality. God dwells with and within creation. This arrangement, instituted by the Divine shortly after time began, has provided a few surprises over the eons, but God remains well pleased with their decision.”
Another member of the press—wearing a Guardian media badge—tried to ascertain what threat the virus might pose to the Lord of Heaven and Earth. Michael explained that, although the Lord was in excellent health, simply on account of their age—Ancient of Days—they certainly fell into the high-risk category. As a result the holy city would be taking steps to support God’s well-being “in all appropriate ways.”
The exchanges grew testy when the Fox News reporter challenged the opening statement as “fake news,” repeatedly interrupting both Gabriel and Michael as they sought to reply. It appeared the Fox reporter was shouting “no change-backs,” while insisting this latest news was utterly at odds with the way God had been represented in the Bible.
When the shouting subsided, others in the room could only catch the curt concluding remarks by Gabriel, which ended thus, “Look, if you read the book carefully, it’s pretty clear that the Author of All Things is not hung up on inerrancy, preferring to work with all manner of persons: prophets, kings, queens, even children, shepherds and such, who are ‘distinguished’ as much by their faults as by their virtues. Bottom line: your stubborn misunderstanding is not our fault. Next question.”
At this point the room fell silent until a young girl with PBS Kids network inquired in a tone of genuine concern, “Will God die?” To which Gabriel reacted with unexpected glee, “Excellent question! Not because it’s exactly correct as posed, but because it comes from compassion—which is where all the best questions arise. Thank you for asking!” He then deferred to Michael, who offered the official heavenly response.
“The only honest answer, child, is yes. And no. Each time a human being dies, Almighty God experiences that death as fully as if it were their own. Each time a human being recovers, Almighty God regains their strength and relishes restored health. But most importantly, because of the way God’s Wisdom has been woven into the very fabric of the cosmos, each time one human being reaches out to another in kindness or justice—in those moments Almighty God comes so fully alive that all the Host of Heaven feel the feathers rise and tremble on our wingtips.” And indeed they shivered with unrepressed delight as they spoke.
Gabriel added, “This is why the Almighty and All-Vulnerable God is named Emmanuel (that is, God-with-us). Having chosen to be God-with, the Breath of God rises and falls particularly in the freely chosen compassionate deeds of human beings. Right now, the virus-laden breathing of El Shaddai is precariously shallow. It is our fervent hope that as humans dedicate themselves to the care of one another—both in what they do and in what they refrain from doing—that we will see the Breath of God restored. Thank you.”
As the reporters left the room, a thundering dry cough could be heard echoing in the city, as if to punctuate the fraught urgency of the moment.
—Heavenly News Network
This is a breaking news report. Check back for updates.
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David Weiss is a theologian, writer, poet and hymnist, doing “public theology” around climate crisis, sexuality, justice, diversity, and peace. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more at www.davidrweiss.com where he blogs under the theme, “Full Frontal Faith: Erring on the Edge of Honest.” Support him in writing Community Supported Theology at www.patreon.com/fullfrontalfaith.