Pandemics Aren’t New

In 1347, ships landed at the city of Messina and delivered the “Black Death” plague to the townspeople. It is thought that as many as fifty percent of the folks who contracted the disease died from it. Just talking with an infected person was cause for infection. People died in unimaginable agony. They often died alone for the disease was so catching that people abandoned them, hoping to save their own lives.

The plague returned in 1527 and society was divided then. Protestants and Catholics were at war with one another and each blamed the other.

That’s not very different from what we experience today. Politics divide countries. Leaders dispute the right path. Meanwhile people die.

Luther wrote that we are tempting God. He chastised those who ran from their duties as caregivers, but then he added these words.

“Others sin on the right hand. They are much too rash and reckless, tempting God and disregarding everything which might counteract death and the plague. 

They disdain the use of medicines; they do not avoid places and persons infected by the plague, but lightheartedly make sport of it and wish to prove how independent they are. 

They say that it is God’s punishment; if he wants to protect them, he can do so without medicines or our carefulness. 

That is not trusting God but tempting him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)

Prayer- Lord we dare to ask you for your help and wisdom, instead of running wildly and with abandon into things that will harm ourselves and others. Amen.

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