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"Responding to Fearful Threats"

March 14, 2020
By Pastor Bill Te Winkle

How should God’s people respond to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic?  How shall we react to the ‘national emergency’ the President, Governors and Mayors have declared to exist?

After Jesus died and was buried his friends believed their lives were in mortal danger. Surely, they thought, they would be next in line to die a horrible death. Guilt by association. What did they do? They huddled together in a room, ‘the doors locked for fear.’  What happened next changed the history of the world, of the universe.  Jesus, he whom they saw die, showed up in their midst. They thought they were seeing a ghost.  But then Jesus spoke words that ring down through history, “Peace be with you!” The disciples were frightened at first, but as Jesus continued to comfort them their fright turned to joy.  They still might be targets of the powers that killed Jesus, but now they had Jesus with them.

The presence of Jesus changes fear to joy, not because the threats we fear go away, but because we see that ‘this too shall pass.’  Importantly, Jesus says, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  The role of God’s people, the work of the church, in the midst of a time of national emergency is to go into locked rooms and bring a word of peace. Sure, the threats of viruses are a real and present danger, but Jesus is with you and he isn’t leaving. ‘Peace be with you.’

A second obligation of God’s people in the midst of crisis is to honor the restrictions and guidelines the government decrees over our activities and lifestyles.  We are called to be faithful disciples first and good citizens second. Keep that order, but to the extent possible, do both.

Is it a necessary thing to close school and church activities? Opinions differ. But, a national emergency is declared. So, good citizens do what we are advised: wash our hands and practice social distancing because, in the long run, it is going to make our nation healthier more quickly.

What should you do today? Bring a word of peace to people who are huddled in fear.  Model good citizenship for your neighbors. “It is well, it is well with my soul.”

Pastor Bill