The country has been moving off of restrictions for a while now. As expected in some areas cases are climbing again. This is in part due to better testing, but the pandemic virus is still increasing again as well. Many people have responded to the loosening of restrictions by letting down their guard against the virus, which is still circulating in the population.
The myth of “herd immunity” will remain a myth until a vaccine is widely distributed and a significant majority of the population has either been vaccinated or has had the disease. A vaccine is not likely to be generally available in this calendar year, although there is a slim chance one will be close to that in the late fall or early winter.
Covid-19 is still here, folks. We need to continue to take extra precautions to keep our distance, where masks in public places, and limit unnecessary exposure to crowds and strangers.
So as followers of Christ Jesus, how do we respond to the ongoing pandemic, to the lack of caution in the public, and to the threats that the pandemic and the social upheaval have brought to us?
Don’t panic. Just do the right thing. As Dallas Willard is quoted as saying, “Do your best. But don’t trust your best. Trust God.” Or like a mountain pastor I knew said, “Pray as if you did not work, but work as if you did not pray.”
Martin Luther (who survived the Black Plague) said this about ministry in dangerous times: “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 to not become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence.”
Pray for your neighbors and neighborhood. Pray that the Lord would save and protect people, would deliver them from evil, and would shelter them. Pray that all the people in your neighborhood would come to hallow your God as their God, and that His kingdom would come and His will would be done in each of your neighbor’s homes and families. It is far more important that we shut off the news and pray than to sit at home watching news that will never make a real difference in what really matters. Combine walking the neighborhood with praying for every home and family in it.
Minister to others in this time. Call people and talk. Pray with them. If you have extra food (or toilet paper, I guess), be quick to share. Offer comfort and hope. Ask how you can pray for them, and do it right there in person or on the phone, Most believers who commit to pray for someone do not follow through in any meaningful way. Don’t be that person.
Another Martin Luther quote from the days of the plague, and an important one for ministry: “We die at our posts. Christian doctors cannot abandon their hospitals, Christian governors cannot flee their districts, Christian pastors cannot abandon their congregations. The plague does not dissolve our duties: It turns them to crosses, on which we must be prepared to die.”
Back to the basics of our faith is our best direction. Following through on the basic safety precautions is also good. Ministry is a good cross on which to die. Going to the store for non-essentials is not. Neither is being careless regarding precautions.
And finally, from Charles Spurgeon: “The Christian need not dread sickness, for he has noting to lose but everything to gain by death.”