It’s strange times we’re living in. What began as a mysterious virus in China has become a global pandemic that’s completely reshaped our world.
Self-quarantines, government mandated shutdowns, economic unrest, grocery store shelves wiped clean, people fighting over toilet paper and hand sanitizer…
If we weren’t living it, it would sound like some poorly written dystopian novel.
But we are living it, and while the virus is rather benign for a majority of the population, it’s the reaction to the virus that’s unsettling.
So, what’s the Christian response to the coronavirus?
The same as it should be whether times be good or bad…
Pray, share the gospel, take care of the needs of your brothers and sisters and trust in the sovereign Lord of the Universe.
We’re not the first generation of Christians to experience a pandemic, and should the Lord tarry, we won’t be the last.
500 years ago, at the same time that the reformation was sweeping across Europe, so too was another equally historic event: The Black Plague.
It’s estimated that around 25 million people died in Europe from the plague, and as you can imagine, believers and unbelievers alike were frightened.
Martin Luther’s response to Christians in Germany during this time of fear and uncertainty was wonderfully practical, biblically-sound, and something we 21st century Christians would be remiss to ignore:
“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash no foolhardy and does not tempt God.”Found in Luther’s Works, Volume 43 p. 132, as “Whether one may flee from a Deadly Plague,”
How refreshing a response to Christians who must have been surrounded by misery and hopelessness on all sides. What a great witness to the world!
But true Christianity has always been marked by a going against the prevailing culture. We are a people set apart–chosen by God out of the world.
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.John 15:19
Everything from our response to worldly events to how we live in the world and even how we mourn our dead (1 Thessalonians 4:13) should look different from the world.
Imagine how odd Law abiding Israelites must have looked to the surrounding pagan nations who denied their flesh nothing.
How odd martyrs like Polycarp, John Wycliffe and others must have looked to the world when they went boldly to their deaths for sharing the truth of the gospel.
How odd we as Christians should look now, to a world facing uncertainty in the wake of the coronavirus.
So dear Christian…
Pray, share the gospel, take care of the needs of your brothers and sisters and put not your faith in man or microscopic organisms…but in the sovereign Lord of the universe who fashioned both into being.