We are living in a new age. Watching the constant updates on the Covid-19 (novel coronavirus) it can be frightening. In fact, when faced with our mortality and the suffering that this causes to our most vulnerable. The questions arise on what we should do as the Church and as followers of Christ. This is not the first such season our church has confronted and it will not be the last.
We are not to be driven by fear, nor are we to be mocking of those who are weaker in the faith, but we are called to be careful and to care for those that are the most vulnerable and bring the hope of Jesus Christ to them. Luther faced a bout of the plague that hit Europe in 1527 and killed many. The plague had had many other periods in history and outbreaks occurred in the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. Luther wrote of this in a letter to his pastors in Breslau in his letter, “Whether One May Flee from Deadly Plague” (Luther’s Works, vol. 43). His exhortation is not from one who did not understand, in fact, he, against the urgings of his elector and other leaders, did not leave Wittenberg but he and his family took in patients and cared for them while they were sick until death. He didn’t do this out of pride and sought to do things in ways that were encouraged by those who practiced medicine in that time. He, also, did not judge those who, because they had no obligations requiring them to stay, that took the opportunity to leave. He just called those that were in places of leadership or who had responsibility over others to not abandon those who God had placed in his or her care. He urged that neighbors take care of one another and we should not abandon our neighbors, but urged those that were weaker in the faith to leave, so long as they made arrangements that their obligations would be fulfilled. Those that are in government should stay and not abandon their posts, as well as medical workers, and law enforcement. Those that had duties to protect should stay. He called pastors to stay and care for their flocks and urged the faith to be in the Lord’s providence. The reality of this, as with any epidemic, is for those of us in Christ to stand firm in the faith of Christ and know that we are saved through Him alone. In this season, let us, as Christians, take a moment to breath and know that God is still in control, not allowing panic to fill our hearts. Let us pray together for God’s protection and do those things that will help keep the most vulnerable from being placed in danger. To our Lord’s glory.