As the pandemic unfolds in the world around us, the reactions we hear and ways forward that we are asked pursue can all be mighty befuddling. What does it all mean? Some will say that the pandemic is worse than any imagined, others will say that its much less a serious than was expected by the experts. Some tell us it will be another two years; others say we should open everything now.
The perspectives on what to do, how to do it, and when to start doing it are dizzying. And the issues to consider and struggle with are just as messy, and in some ways messier, when we begin to consider how our lives as God’s people works into this. This morning as I began to write this, the news reported that Governor Kelly probably won’t extend the stay-at-home orders beyond May 3. Other reports showed up detailing the plans for some churches to begin worshipping together again.
Keeping everyone holed up in the family cave will not be an option much longer, but we fear receiving or passing along germs or viri (isn’t that the plural of “virus?”) to our neighbor. We don’t know how to assess whether it’s fearless or reckless to move forward. Frozen. In the confusion around us, we do not know what the consequences might be to our neighbor.
Surprise! We do not know the details of tomorrow. But this we do know: whether we live or die, we are bound to Christ by faith and in our baptism. We receive His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation. We are bound to each other as the Body of Christ in ways that the world cannot see. Our life is with Christ. We preserve our own well-being in this life because we are His. We pray that through us God will come to our neighbors – whether the neighbors we live with, or those we encounter on the street – and give them life with Him as well. And this is how we love our neighbor. By first being Christ’s.
Love your neighbor. Not recklessly. Fearlessly.