SUNDAY MEDITATION: Into the Fire (March 29, 2020)

[NOTE: The weekly schedule of Monday Meditations returns tomorrow.]

Through faith they conquered kingdoms, brought about justice, realized promises, shut the mouths of lions, put out raging fires… – Hebrews 11:33

I admire, and greatly appreciate, first responders. There’s nothing more inspiring than people who literally put their lives on the line for the sake of others.

You see this very dramatically in scenes where firefighters enter burning buildings. The rest of us are running away from the flames, but these men and women run into them.

It reminds me of the unforgettable scene I’d mentioned in an earlier blog. During the pandemic of 250 A.D. in the Roman Empire, thousands of people died each day. Without science, you can imagine the wild rumors and unbridled fear that raged at least as rampantly as the disease (which was probably smallpox).

And what did those crazy Christians do? Like firefighters, instead of running away from the flames of the pandemic, they ran into them. They tended to the victims who were left in the streets to die. They embraced them, comforted, and prayed for them. No doubt some of these Christians, displaying the same unconditional love that Jesus displayed, paid the ultimate price for their service, just like some first responders do. It was such selfless love, though, that inspired a skeptical world to wake up to the gospel.

During a time of pandemic, we safeguard ourselves and our families. How grateful we are to our leaders, in government, science, and healthcare, to direct us in this.

But as Christians, we are called to express love and concern for all who are burned by the flame of the disease: those suffering physically, financially, emotionally. What creative ways may we look past our insulation/isolation and reach out to them?

How amazing it is to see people responding to the suffering that the coronavirus has caused: Go Fund Me’s, blood drives, calling on the elderly, connecting to the unemployed… In our time of seclusion, how can we still reach out in the spirit of those early Christians?

The missionary/theologian Albert Schweitzer once said, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.“

During this time, may God grant each of us grace to discover the truth of these words.

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