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Pastor Jenna Purdy

purdyjen@me.com

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Port Isabel, TX 78578

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Covid-19 and the Wilderness

Updated: Mar 24

I'm gonna be straight with you. I have absolutely no idea where to begin. So much has happened in such a short amount of time that there hasn't been a lot of time to process any of it.


In the absence of a clear starting point, I find my thoughts returning to the beginning of Lent: the passage of Jesus in the wilderness being tempted by the devil after 40 days. More specifically, I find myself thinking about Satan's second temptation (according to Matthew 4:5-6), which reads, "After that the devil brought him into the holy city and stood him at the highest point of the temple. He said to him, 'Since you are God's Son, throw yourself down; for it is written, I will command my angels concerning you, and they will take you up in their hands so that you won't hit your foot on a stone.'"


Translation: Since you're God's Son, you should have God's divine favor and protection, so prove it by throwing yourself off this roof.


I've seen enough online to know that there are some people who seem to feel that taking precautions against Covid-19 demonstrates a lack of faith in God and God's protection and so they actively seek to prove their faith by NOT taking precautions.


Personally, I don't believe that God desires for us to intentionally place ourselves in danger so that God can protect us and be glorified. Frankly, Jesus didn't believe that either. His response to Satan's second temptation was, "Again it's written, Don't test the Lord your God." There's plenty of danger in the world without us adding to it.


Yes, there are a lot of of scriptures that speak to God's favor and divine blessing if we keep the covenant and obey God. But if we keep the covenant and obey God, we also avoid making bad decisions that could invite unpleasant consequences.


In any case, whatever your theology and whatever you believe about Covid-19, here's the thing that really bothers me: it's not just our own life that we're risking.


Even during seasons of utter and boring normalcy, the consequences of our actions almost always impact others. Our decisions and actions do not exist within self-contained vacuums; there is a ripple effect. As such, the greater the potential consequences, the more responsibility we have to proceed with caution.


There are so many unknown variables with Covid-19, so many things that we're still trying to figure out. What we do know is that people have died from it, that the elderly and those who are immunocompromised face a greater risk of death, and that asymptomatic transmission is possible.


Ultimately, all I had to do to decide to do my part to flatten the curve was ask myself one question: which path can I live with if I end up being wrong? If I do nothing and I'm wrong, there will be deaths that could have been prevented. But if I do something and I'm wrong, then I'll have made some sacrifices that may or may not have been necessary.


So, yeah, I'll practice physical distancing for as long as I need to because if I can help save even one person's life, then it's worth it. Because that one person has a family and friends and people that care about them. Because that one person is a child of God. Because that one person matters.


This isn't an issue of who's right and who's wrong or who believes strongly enough and who doesn't. This is an issue about our willingness to love our neighbor and to put the needs of others ahead of our own wants.


It's about what Paul says in Galatians 5:13-14, "You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: Love your neighbor as yourself" (CEB).


Until next time,

Pastor Jenna


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