Author Topic: A Christian response to Coronavirus  (Read 533 times)

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Offline Deborah

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A Christian response to Coronavirus
« on: March 29, 2020, 05:32:17 PM »

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We're living in interesting times... difficult times... challenging times. Who would have thought, just a few weeks ago, that we'd all now be wondering where our next pack of toilet roll is going to come from? However you look at it, our current situation is an unfamiliar one. It's been compared to living through the Blitz in the Second World War - but very few of us now are old enough to remember the Blitz, and in any case the two situations are not really comparable. At least, during the war, people were able to get together for mutual support! Whereas currently, social isolation is probably the biggest issue that we have to contend with.

It must be fairly obvious that the Bible doesn't have anything to say specifically about coronavirus, and what it does have to say about quarantine and social isolation (namely the leprosy regulations) is not terribly encouraging! But it may be reassuring for us to know that God's people have been in unfamiliar and difficult situations before - and survived.

We have such a situation in I Kings chapter 18.

Ahab, the king of Israel, had married a foreign princess called Jezebel. She turned out to be an agent of the Enemy, an ardent evangelist of the religion of Baal and a terrible influence on her husband and on the ordinary people. She brought her own religion into Israel, which was bad enough; but she went further by persecuting those who refused to embrace it. And those who were brave enough to resist her were forced to go into hiding - it was either that, or be killed.

And then, in chapter 17, Elijah the Tishbite walks into Ahab's palace and announces that God is sending a severe drought to punish His people for their idolatry.

No early warning. No time to stockpile food, as Joseph had done in Egypt. Israel had what's called a subsistence economy, in which most people are farmers who grow just enough food to last them and their families for one year, until the next harvest. So no harvest meant mass starvation (as we still often see in some parts of the world).

Now Elijah goes and hides in a remote valley where he's fed miraculously by ravens, then moves on to a place called Zarephath where he and a widow and her son are fed miraculously for three years. At some point, the widow's son dies and Elijah's prayers restore him to life.

Wonderful, exciting stuff - but what about all the faithful believers (7000 of them) living in Israel? No miracles for them. As Jesus commented, "There were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon." (Luke 4:25,26)

We know very little about what was going on in Israel itself, but in chapter 18 we're introduced to one of those faithful believers - Obadiah. He's a man in a very high and influential position - a senior civil servant. We're told that he's "a devout believer in the LORD", despite living and working in a godless environment (and there can't have been many places more godless than Ahab's palace). He's no prophet or evangelist; he survives by keeping his head down and his mouth shut. But he lives out his faith by providing a lifeline for the prophets of Yahweh who are being persecuted by Jezebel and are "self-isolating" in the mountains. That must be a mammoth task, and he probably hasn't been doing it all on his own, without any help; but he's the organiser, he provides most of the resources, and if they're found out it's his life that'll be on the line. One hundred prophets - and probably their families as well - is a lot of mouths to feed, especially if you have to do it in great secrecy. And then, on top of all these problems, he somehow has to keep the whole show going during a long famine! No miracles for him... just hard, unrewarding slog. But he carried on...

A few years ago, one of our cats brought a live mouse into the house and released it in the living-room. After being chased around the room a few times it took refuge behind the gas fire, and it was two or three days before we finally managed to catch it. It wasn't nice for us to have a mouse in the house, but it probably wasn't much fun for the mouse either - snatched away from its home in the garden and stranded inside a living-room where there was nothing to eat and two cats hunting it around! But it just carried on doing what mice always do: it made itself a nest in a corner behind a bookcase, and found some flowers in a vase that it could nibble. This is probably why mice are such a successful species - wherever they are, they just instinctively carry on being mice!

And like that mouse, when we suddenly find ourselves in an unfamiliar or difficult situation, we need to carry on (as far as possible) doing what Christians always do:
Loving
Praying
Serving


Obviously, we may need to do these things in a slightly different way from the usual. We'll have to get used to the idea that, for the time being, loving our neighbours means social distancing. Even if I myself am feeling well, I don't want to be the asymptomatic carrier who infects the elderly couple next door. But it's good to talk on the phone - do you have the phone numbers of your neighbours? Not everyone is comfortable with social media; but if you are, then now's the time to make the most of it! Prayer meetings may be out - but we can still share news and prayer requests by text and email. And there will be many many opportunities to serve others in the coming weeks and months. God may work miracles; but for most of us, as for Obadiah, it'll be just hard unrewarding slog. And some of us may be called upon to make real sacrifices...

In the middle of the third century, the Roman Empire was devastated by as plague; at one point, in Rome, people were dying at the rate of 5000 a day! As you might expect, the instinct for self-preservation caused people to flee the cities in droves, leaving the sick to die. But many Christians did the exact opposite, risking their own lives to care for the sick and the dying. And after it was over, the Church experienced phenomenal growth...

We're living in interesting times... difficult times... challenging times... but also times of great opportunity! For decades now our society has been gradually moving away from Christianity. Like the faithful in Israel, we're getting fewer in number with each generation; the temptations to compromise are great, and there have been ominous instances of persecution for those who dare to make a stand for Christian values. And now comes this modern plague - and despite the difficulties it's causing us, I believe that God will make use of it (and us) and turn it to good (Romans 8:28).
"Blessed is the one who always trembles before God,
but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble." (Proverbs 28:14)

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Offline davetaff

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Re: A Christian response to Coronavirus
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2020, 01:03:46 PM »
Hi Deborah
Thank you for a good and interesting post.

Love and Peace
Dave

Offline Guardian

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Re: A Christian response to Coronavirus
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2020, 01:10:10 AM »
I would hate to be a restaurant owner right now - let alone  an hotel owner..



Even once they get past his - they have to contend with the 2 metre rule - that's a third of their customers gone- before they even start...

Even 1 metre sucks -I think a lot of peoplke are going to go out of businessv[ the biggest are the most vunerable]


Mskes no difference whether you are Christian or not - you still live within the world
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Offline Guardian

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Re: A Christian response to Coronavirus
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2020, 01:25:12 AM »

re: John 17:16  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.


Many are going to go bust [ whether they choose to or not..
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Offline Guardian

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Re: A Christian response to Coronavirus
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2020, 01:30:29 AM »


Whatever - people might think or believe - they have powers above them- that rule above them
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Offline mr canuck

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Re: A Christian response to Coronavirus
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2020, 10:19:51 PM »
I just preached at two different churches, The Christian Response to Covid.  If we look to Jesus' teachings on having compassion and love for one another, we can easily see the response that we should have during difficult times.  I am a chaplain, and I discussed how chaplaincy is the practice of just, "being".  Just being there for people who are suffering-someone to spend time with them, being a good listener and offering love and compassion when things are just not going well for them.  We need to reach out to people who are in need.  James 1:27 sums things up very well about a "perfect religion."  Sometimes we have polluted the gospel with so many trappings-signs and wonders, etc, and have forgotten the real gospel-"God first loved us, that HE sent His son to save us."  God has not abandoned us. Like the song says, "what the world needs now is love, sweet love."  Practice social and safety during Covid and spread the love of Christ to all you meet.

Offline Derek1955

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Re: A Christian response to Coronavirus
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2020, 10:57:06 AM »
A Christian's response to the corona virus must be the same as their response to all situations in which they find themselves: Prayer to our Father for the courage to face the largely unknown and to obey the best available rules and regulations in order to protect ourselves and others and to then accept the pandemic as yet another of earthly life's many vicissitudes.   For a Christian, life is about much more than its number of years or its ease of comfort.

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