Friday, March 13, 2020

James 2:14-17

James 2:14-17 
English Standard Version (ESV)

 If you're curious as to what Martin Luther has to say about coronavirus, Christianity Today has your answer.  In summary, if you have the obligation and capability to help, you should serve your neighbor, no matter their health condition.  If you would not be abandoning anyone, there is freedom to withdraw.  In either case, there are two things that are true. 
  The first is that we have a responsibility to be good stewards of our bodies and our physical health -- one of the ways we honor God is by taking care of our bodies, in times of pandemic and in regular times. 
  The second is that this decision does not alter our salvation -- we arrive at the decision we feel is most faithful to God, led by Scripture and prayer.  People will make different decisions, but as long as we do so with humility and grace, we should not be severing our relationships with one another in the process, and since nothing can separate us from the love of God, this disease need not isolate us from God and one another.
  What James is saying in this letter is related -- our faith shows itself in our works.  In times like this, when chaos seems to leap from house to house and uncertainty is knocking on every door, our faith should guide our actions and our response.  While sin has altered the world and given rise to sickness and death, the ultimate victory belongs to Christ, and we know that because he is victorious, we, too, will conquer.  We can have hope in the face of threats, and we can serve in times of danger, because as the church, we know that our ultimate security comes not in health or wealth, but in God, and in God alone. 
  So may we invest our energies not in nervous panic but in holding tightly those threads that bind us together.  May we reach out to neighbors and those who are isolated, reminding one another that we are not alone, that we're all walking each other home, and that our hope is a steady and faithful rock no matter how turbulent the watery chaos may be. 

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