Faithful Living During a Pandemic

“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us.  Then I will fumigate, purify the air, administer medicine, and take medicine.  I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order to not 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.  But, 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.  This is a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy, and does not tempt God.”

This was written by Martin Luther, writing during the time of the Bubonic plague of the 1500’s.

As we move through this time, our time, which is not “one time” but a staggered, uncertain, stop-start-hesitate-go back-jump aside-move along sort of time, we have many decisions to make about our common life, our worship, our work and our witness.

I appreciate this quote above from Martin Luther, which Bishop Sam Rodman shared with us of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina today, because of the way Luther, living through another horrific world plague, articulates a faithful response to living a life responsible to God and others. It is not so easy as saying Trust in God to protect us no matter what! nor Run for the hills, there’s no hope here!

So we’re going to need to say our prayers.

We’re going to need to stay connected to each other and the Word of God.

We’re going to need to listen to those who have dedicated their lives and careers to understanding global health events similar to the one we’re experiencing now (because God knows, that’s not what I have done with my life).

And ultimately we are going to need to make decisions about what we will do, and not do, to best align ourselves with our Gospel values, which include love of God, of our neighbors, and of ourselves, and a concern for those who are most vulnerable and forgotten.

At Church of the Holy Spirit, we are seeking to answer questions right now about what kind of faithful community we want to be, how we can be a light among our neighbors, and how everyone who wants to can participate meaningfully and fully in our collective seeking of God’s Kingdom – whether they are able to gather in person or virtually now and in the future.

We are reluctant to jump to easy or quick answers to any questions, with hopes that as we pray, and wonder, and imagine the New Creation God is bringing into being, we will be able to faithfully move together according to God’s will and God’s vision for our community, rather than our own. We ask your prayers for boldness, humility, and grace in our discernment!

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