Loving Neighbors and COVID-19
Tertullian is a church oddity. While there is much that could be (and has been) said about this 3rd Century theologian, consider this quote about Christians, “we multiply whenever we are mown down by you; the blood of Christians is seed”. He is often quoted as “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church”. To appropriate it today in modern language we might say, “the church grows in the midst of sickness and death”. The Church does not tremble in the face of death. We have a message of real life, eternal life that has come to use through the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate King who reigns and rules over all.
As we observe a trembling world around us let us not forget our Lord’s instruction to be a blessing to those around us. Part of loving God is to follow His command to love our neighbors. We want to be wise in this and use proper medical protection and distancing, however, there is a world around us that is in need. We have an opportunity in this strange season to lay down our lives for others in ways that testify to the grace of Jesus and His love for them. We don’t want to spread the virus but we should be willing to place ourselves at risk in order to show love to a watching world.
In this, please take time this week to check in on your actual neighbors. This season provides us with a beautiful opportunity to embrace Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. In this well-known lesson we are encouraged to not be like the priest or the Levite. Consider how they avoided a stripped and beaten man. If he was dead then to touch him would have made them unclean. The process for a priest and Levite to become clean was costly and time consuming. Their avoidance of the man was about them, not about the man.
In contrast Jesus highlights the Samaritan, the man’s enemy. The Samaritan cared only for the man. It was costly and it was time consuming. This is love. Your love for your neighbors may be costly and time consuming. Do they need toilet paper or a meal? At a time when toilet paper is worth more than gold, sharing something so simple is real love.
Please also consider your elderly neighbors. You will want to maintain a healthy distance but they are likely more in need of extra assistance. Do they need groceries delivered or yard work done? If you have particular ways you are caring for neighbors would you let me know?
These acts of love may seem simple but they reflect Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:42, “and whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward”. May the Lord use His Church to proclaim His Word through our words and deeds.