I dedicate these lines to those who have been overwhelmed by anxiety, who have lost hope, and who perhaps can no longer be joyful, pray, or worship. The message of this booklet, divided into ten very brief devotional texts, was not only designed to bring comfort, consolation, and encouragement but also, above all, to remind your heart of who God is. It is on this path – of knowledge, conviction, and commitment to God – that our hearts will be brought into line for a life of joy in the midst of the crisis, faith in an environment of uncertainty, rest in days of anguish, and purpose in the place of disenchantment.

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The spread of the Coronavirus and its impact on our daily lives has generated anxiety, panic and suffering in many different forms. As the virus continues to spread globally, government authorities and society in general are taking measures to decrease the potential devastating effects of the virus. The Christian must embrace the measures being taken with zeal and responsibility.

It is remarkable that Paul asked the church of Ephesus to pray for him to have boldness when preaching the gospel. The image I have of Paul is as one of the boldest and most fearless preachers in the whole New Testament, proclaiming Jesus even under persecution, during storms or in prison. And yet, when he has a chance to present a prayer point, he asks that “… may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel” (Eph 6.19). It seems that even the most dedicated worker needs God’s power and His supernatural strength to proclaim Christ with boldness. It also shows that Paul was very intentional about proclaiming the gospel, to the point that it became one of his leading motives for prayer on several occasions.

Misunderstandings about the Gospel and its relation to human culture promote all kinds of extremes.  

On one hand those who believe the Gospel is disconnected from culture, tend to present it without much concern of contextualization. They transmit academic messages to simple people, build temples of cement for clay cultures, export piano songs to drum players and encourage shinny shoes in the place of bare feet. 

In an informal conversation with university students in São Paulo few years ago, I heard the question, “Can an anthropologist be a Christian?” As I was preparing to answer, a complementary question arose, “Could a Christian be an anthropologist?" The questions were rooted in a collective perception of incompatibility between anthropology and the Christian faith, or even between science and faith. I started the answer by stating that not every anthropologist is a Christian, but every Christian should have anthropological interest by nature.