Luther’s Take on Pandemics

Luther_pandemicAlmost 500 years ago, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther wrote about responding to pandemics. When Luther was asked about how to deal with The Black Death Plague, he responded in words that should serve to inform our approach to the pandemic crisis our nation and the world is now facing today.

In a letter “Whether one may flee from a Deadly Plague” to Rev. Dr. John Hess, Luther writes:

“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict 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.

If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash no foolhardy and does not tempt God.” (1)

Today in the 21st century, the faithful should go and do likewise.

“But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 30:17)

~ Pastor Douglas

 

(1) Luther’s Works, Volume 43 p. 132,

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