Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
There is a lot to be worried about these days: The stock market, corona virus and the possible impact these things might have on our lives in the next few months or even years ahead.
I get it. Some people are terrified and some think it is all overblown. As a pastor (and most likely your pastor) I don’t have the liberty to dismiss anything that might affect our congregation in potentially devastating ways.
I will not overreact, nor will I panic. I will use the best information I can get and in consultation with our staff make decisions that will hopefully keep everyone safe. If I am wrong, I’ve barely inconvenienced anyone and annoyed a few. That is acceptable to me.
I will also follow Jesus’ instruction. I don’t have the time or the energy to worry about tomorrow or speculate about what might happen next week/month. I’ve got enough on my plate for today.
In case you were wondering, I do not believe this is a punishment from God. Jesus loves us and wants the best for us.
We are called to be people who trust that Jesus will guide us forward and when we can’t move ahead anymore we are invited to rest in the presence of God forever.
Even though we are asked to trust in Jesus’ love, remember we aren’t asked to check our brains at the door. We need to do things like wash our hands more and remove ourselves from large crowds of people (especially if we are in a high risk category).
When Jesus sent his disciples out into the world, he said this to them…
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Matthew 10:16
Shrewd means showing sharp powers of judgment or being astute. Jesus was saying… Be smart! Understand the risks! Do what is prudent! And at the same time living in such a way that you aren’t causing harm to others (innocent as doves). In this moment, it may mean staying away from others because you have a cough or are running a fever. You may feel well enough to be out in the world but you may expose others to something that might be catastrophic to them.
Our presiding bishop, Elizabeth Eaton reminds us of the challenges in Martin Luther’s Day when she wrote…
“In 1527 the plague returned to Wittenberg, Germany. Two hundred years earlier the plague had swept across Europe killing up to 40% of the population. Understandably, people were anxious and wondered what a safe and faithful response might be. In answer to this, Martin Luther wrote Whether One May Flee From a Deadly Plague. In it, he emphasized the duty to care for the neighbor, the responsibility of government to protect and provide services to its citizens, a caution about recklessness, and the importance of science, medicine and common sense.”
“To provide care for the neighbor, Luther recommended that pastors, those in public office, doctors and public servants should remain in the city. Luther himself remained in Wittenberg to care for his people. He recommended that public hospitals be built to accommodate those with the plague. He condemned those who took unnecessary risks that put themselves and others in danger of contagion. Luther also encouraged the use of reason and medicine.”
Luther wrote, “God has created medicines and has provided us with intelligence to guard and take care of the body. … Use medicine; take potions which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor does not need your presence.” (Whether One May Flee From a Deadly Plague, 1527).
Love your neighbor as yourself while caring for yourself. Sounds like good advice in the moment.
Remember: CLEAN HANDS. CLEAR MIND. CARING HEARTS.
God bless you all…
(Live Long and Prosper)