From the 14th century through the 16th century, the Bubonic plague swept across Europe killing as many as 200 million people. When the plague hit Germany, Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, was advised to flee but decided instead to stay and help those in need. Luther wrote a letter to another pastor titled, “Whether One May Flee From a Deadly Plague.”
I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above.
Luther’s approach to the pandemic was two-dimensional. He protected himself while he also took calculated risks to care for others. We must do the same. Right now we are practicing social distancing to flatten the Coronavirus infection curve. But we should also practice social caring and meet the needs of our neighbors.
Aldersgate Church is practicing both social distancing and social caring during this epic time. I trust you are engaged with us online and I want you to know we are providing help and hope to so many during this time. On Easter weekend we launched a new giving campaign called “Love the Hub” designed to meet the tangible needs of those in our community that is hurting because of the current crisis. I am asking you to do two things:
Historically speaking, during a crisis is when the church is at her best. This is when we step up and step in. Let’s be smart and continue to practice social distancing. And let’s be charitable and practice social caring. Let’s “Love the Hub!”