Guest blog time! Want to guess who wrote this, Masked Singer style? No? Oh, my bad. The following was penned by my favorite uncle, Reverend Curtis Flemming, a pastor in the Bay Area, which is currently in a state of “Sheltering Down” due to the Coronavirus outbreak. So without further ado, here’s the essay. Not penned by Sarah Palin.
As I prayed and consulted with my colleagues and medical professionals—my wife included— I pondered whether to self-quarantine and implement it to the people and congregations I serve. At issue for many is faith: do we trust God or the experts?
This is a persnickety problem that has gotten many in trouble with my tribe! Historically, there was the good Reverend Doctor Martin Luther’s negative remarks against the mathematician and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus who said the Earth revolves around the Sun. There was also the view that the Earth was flat, even though the Bible clearly disagrees. You see, for some in my tribe, any hint of defections from the faith is a sign of lack of faith.
So what do I do? I know God is able to protect me and those I serve; I just preached from Psalms 91. However, I also know that God gives wisdom and ability to other disciplines like medical doctors and scientists. He even gives authority (Romans 13) to civil leadership for the benefit of society. For me, I go back and reexamine the scriptures, because that’s what we pastors do. In the book of Matthew, we find Jesus in a similar situation. Satan is questioning Jesus’ faith in God:
“For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said, “Since you are God’s Son, jump.” The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: “He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone.”Matthew 4:5-6 MSG
Jesus’s response should inform our thinking:
“Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.”Matthew 4:7 MSG
We who believe, know God is able and willing to protect us. However, we still should not try to beat a speeding train at the railroad crossing in a fully loaded church van! Leviticus 13 is a great example for us on God’s prescription for dealing with communicable diseases- Social distancing! And you know what’s intriguing, God said to stay out of the public for a total of 14 days! In my humble opinion, we should heed God’s prescription. I am. No one is asking us to deny our faith. I hope if that time comes, I can stand in faith. But for today, this is about protecting the vulnerable in our society. This is about being true to who we are as Christians, putting others before ourselves.
If you would like to read more from Rev. Flemming, you can follow on Facebook here. Thanks Unc!