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On Viral Outbreaks

Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church is part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of all times and places. These times and places have included many of our forefathers in the faith facing various plagues, outbreaks, wars, and pestilences. Many of our greatest Lutheran hymns of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were composed by pastors and laity who faced death square in the face in war and outbreak. Pastor Martin Rinckert wrote “Now Thank We All Our God” as plague swept through his town during the Thirty Years’ War. He buried his own wife. Pastor Philip Nicolai wrote “How Lovely Shines the Morningstar” and “Wake! Awake! For Night is Flying” in the midst of a year where he presided over some two thousand or more funerals in his town.

The point being that in the face of overwhelming fear and death – a point we are not at yet in the current Covid-19 viral oubreak, especially with modern sanitation and medicine – Christians and their faith in Christ as Lord and Savior overcome all fear and even the grave itself, because they know the Savior who carried their sorrows and shame and trespasses to the cross and destroyed them there, rising to new life over every enemy of God and the life He created. The worst situations then become the time for great and small confessions of faith in Christ, in word and deed, to come forth from Christians to the world around them – like Rinckert and Nicolai composing their great hymns. In ways great and small, we should be joyful to give a confession to our neighbors of the hope we have in us in Jesus Christ.

For a well balanced and thoughtful look at the current situation, read this article from the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod:

Coronavirus: Nothing new about disease … or the need for the Gospel

Further, here is another great article from the LCMS about how Martin Luther encouraged those facing the Bubonic Plague in Wittenberg and Silesia in his day:

When one can’t flee the plague

In Christ’s Service,
Pastor Jacob Sutton

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