“A Cure for Coronavirus”
July 12, 2020
Scripture Readings: Isaiah 55; Romans 8:12-17; Matthew 13:1-23
Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior,
Have you ever stopped to think that YOU might be the cure for Coronavirus?
No, I don’t mean by staying at home or wearing a mask when you go out.
I mean YOU!
There’s a joke going around on Facebook right now. It goes something like this: “Would
whoever is supposed to go to Nineveh, just please go already?” If you don’t understand
that joke, you might want to spend a few minutes reading the 4 chapters of the Book of Jonah.
As we learn from the Book of Job (especially chapter 1), God isn’t responsible for the terrible events of our world as much as we often like to blame Him. God doesn’t sit on His Throne and think up ways to make our lives terribly uncomfortable in order to punish us (1 John 4:7, 8, 16). Never forget that God so loved the world that He sent Jesus (John 3:16).
That first chapter of Job makes it clear. Every affliction in this world – including Coronavirus – is an intentional attempt by the devil and his dominion to inflict pain and problems and destruction on God’s creation – God’s world and God’s people. Don’t fail to notice that the devil does not have free reign. The devil has to ask God’s permission to do what he wants to do and God permits it – with restrictions.
My personal take on all this is that while God isn’t responsible for all this mess in our world right now (the virus, the racial tensions, the political divisions, the economy, the broken lives, the lives lost), He does have a plan (Jeremiah 29:11) and that plan is good and that plan will succeed (Isaiah 55).
The thing about God is that He usually doesn’t act immediately. Not that He can’t – but He usually doesn’t act immediately (and even throughout the entire Bible He rarely did). That’s not a time reference. “Immediately” here means “without means.” Today God is working His plan through “means” – through His Word, through His Sacraments of Holy Baptism and The Lord’s Supper and through His people (Romans 8:12-17; 1 Peter 2:9). These means God throws intentionally and (to our human economic eyes) recklessly into the world, just as the sower sowed the seed in Jesus’ parable today.
God was reckless with you and with me. While we were yet sinners, God died for us (Romans 5:8). With nothing in our hands – nothing to make ourselves valuable or desirable to Him – God made us His heirs (Romans 8:12-17), giving us everything that is His. And, even knowing the bad hearing and self-centeredness and free will of human beings, God entrusted to us the task to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20).
You and I would have taken out an ad in the local newspaper. We would have interviewed multiple candidates. We would have run background checks. We would have carefully chosen the absolute best candidate and into that one person we would have invested everything, figuring that would be our best return on investment.
But that’s not God’s economy. God instead is like the person in Las Vegas who ropes off 25 penny slot machines. Instead of putting one quarter into one machine, that person puts 25 pennies into 25 machines. It may not make sense to some, but to that person the odds of payout seem better.
God threw Jesus into this world (see Luke 2). Some people wanted absolutely nothing to do with Him. Others accepted Jesus for a period of time, a season of life, but eventually succumbed to the various schemes of the devil. Some people, though – and I believe that’s you and me – have been watered and fed and nourished and sustained and blessed beyond measure by Jesus. All because of God’s recklessness. We are God’s successes (the 30, 60, 100 fold return).
A sadness filled my heart as I prepared the July “Highlights of Historic First Lutheran.” For the first month during 2020, I had no “Street Saint Stories” submitted – no accounts of any of us sharing our faith with others. I tend to blame the crazy events of the end of May and the month of June for distracting us from telling others what we had done to share our faith.
I firmly believe the cure for Coronavirus is you – and me!
I believe this is a season of life where God has particularly prepared the hearts of people to be hungry and thirsty, to realize their fast-food diet in this hectic society is leaving a lot to be desired, to even realize their ideas are failing them miserably.
Many years ago, God cast Jesus into this world as the Bread of Life and as the Living Water. In many of our cases, God adopted us many years ago through our baptisms as beneficiaries of His great mercy shown us in Jesus Christ (Matthew 13:23). And God has maintained us strong in our faith through His Word and Sacraments for such a time as this (Esther 4:14).
The challenge – if you choose to accept it – is to imitate God (Ephesians 5:1). Be reckless in sharing your hope and joy in Jesus (1 Peter 3:15). Don’t be intentional. Don’t sit around and plot and plan and rate return on investment. That’s up to God.
YOU! Find a hurt and heal it. Find a tear and wipe it away. Find some hatred and overcome it with love. Find a wandering sheep and steer it back. Be the light of Christ!
Grace and peace to you!
Pastor Christopher Schaar