April 3, 2020 - Neighbor

When I woke up this morning I had my immediate neighbor on my mind. I thought about yesterday when both of us went to the rural mailbox and we waited for each other to distance ourselves. After we retrieved our mail we distanced ourselves even further or practiced safe distancing by standing approximately 25 feet from each other. Even in the distance, we both asked if either of us needed anything. What has been so comforting thus far has been the attention to helping neighbors. For this article I would like to use the definition: Neighbor is anyone who is in need. As I have spoken to so many of you, the common statement is, "I am thankful to all who have been so loving and helpful during this time of crisis." Simply calling someone and checking on them is a great service.   

With that being said, when I woke up this morning one of Grace's members had sent me a profound and timely message written by Martin Luther. Even though Martin Luther lived in the 1500's, his message is so appropriate for today as we contend with Covid-19. It was in August 1527 the bubonic plague had come to Wittenberg, Germany. The disease was a deadly one that caused high fevers and large boils.

As we contend with the coronavirus, there is much we can learn from Martin Luther. He took time to explain and share how important it is to care for our neighbors, protect one another and serving.

He also wrote about the special responsibilities of public officials in times of crisis. Their authority was meant to exercise, protect and preserve their communities. Every day we witness the commitment and dedication of doctors and nurses who are on the front lines. Martin Luther's point is that all of us have a part to play. We can practice social distancing, even stay home and protect ourselves, but we still can help our neighbors. Even in this time of the pandemic, we have some heroes right at Grace that are doing great things right now to ensure the well- being of our neighbors. Without calling their names, I extend my sincerest appreciation to each of them. You are truly unsung heroes.  

Martin Luther defined godliness as simply serving God and the way to serve God was to serve our neighbors. Please see the message written by Martin Luther that is drastically needed today:

"Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and also take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect 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." Martin Luther (From "Whether One May Flee a Deadly Plague")                  

If you have the time, please take the time to google, Erin Hawley, (Martin Luther). I give credit to her for pieces relative to this message.

I wish to thank Cheryl Conway for sharing the section in blue.

This is the most relevant, profound and timely writing I have read since the coronavirus has surfaced. Please take time to read more on Martin Luther and how he served and penetrated himself in to service during the bubonic plague. In 1347, the plague killed 60% of its population. 

May we now help our neighbors by providing assistance where needed, but also remaining safe ourselves.            

In an effort to better understand who our neighbors are, I direct our attention to Luke 10:28-37

"Blessed is he who considers the poor. The Lord will deliver him in the day of trouble. Psalm 41:1

On another note, Bill Withers died and one of his songs that touched our hearts is "Lean On Me!" Please download it and allow it to resonate in your mind and heart, for all of us need somebody. Yes, we know we have a higher power, but let this song sooth your spirit right now. 

Robert Earl Slade, Pastor