Christians Responding to the Pandemic

People began noticing a growing number of deaths in the population from an unknown source. The upper class men of the society fled the city because they were important to the continuation of the government and culture. Or else because they were afraid.

They left women and children and the poor behind to suffer and die.

Groups of people came out of hiding, for they were despised by the ambient culture, and they began to care for those who were ill at great risk to their own health.

And the numbers of those belonging to the groups grew greatly because of their service and faith.

The city was Rome. The time was 249-252. The hidden group were Jesus-followers.

Centuries pass. The heirs to those Jesus-followers established hospitals and schools and greatly enhance the health and well being of the societies they inhabited.

Today, those heirs are highly trained medical professionals who every day expose themselves to illnesses in order to heal and care for those who are ill. Today, many are exposed to a virus that has no known cure and can lead to a terrible death (although we really don’t know if it is one percent of those who contract the disease or a tenth of a percent).

And, where are the Jesus-followers and Christians today, I wondered. I am in a new community with few ties, but I do know of a church that is dispensing bags of groceries to those in need. I know of a faith-based community center dispensing lunches to homeless and those in need.

So I searched the Internet. Here’s what I found:

  • We should have faith over fear
  • “Bear witness to the peace of God”
  • “Bear witness to the coming judgement of God”
  • “Be ready to meet Jesus”
  • “Stay home”

One leader denied the seriousness of the virus and kept his university open exposing many to its spread.

Another leader defied shelter-in-place orders designed to stop the spread of the disease and opened his church thereby exposing many to the virus.

What responses do you see? What response can you make in your own community? What should Christian churches be doing in light of their heritage and the commands of the founder? Where do I fall short?

The best way to deal with events beyond our control is to control what is within our grasp. And to reach out to others. Let us be open to the prompting of God who will present us opportunities to serve.

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