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Contemplating Our Mortality

Last count, 63 medical doctors have succumbed to the Covid-19 virus in Italy.  Eighty-three hundred healthcare workers there have been infected.

A relative of mine who is a nurse in Chicago texted family members saying Covid-19 hospitalizations are doubling daily in her hospital, and she, with other nurses, are being retrained as ER nurses as the pandemic grows.

Healthcare workers in the U.S. plainly state they are scared—even “terrified.”  They are facing a potentially overwhelming number of new patients infected with the virus, lack sufficient protective gear, and know they’ll be working 12-16 hour shifts for weeks to come.  Some are making or updating their wills; others are filming videos in which they say goodbye to their children and families.  They are “getting their affairs in order” should they suddenly encounter the pandemic’s ultimate consequence.

Whole Foods employees, Amazon workers and Instacart delivery personnel are going on one-day strikes to protest lack of protective gear and policies and to demand hazard pay before they go back to work.   

Like never before, grocery store clerks, sanitation workers, delivery personnel, and workers in all kinds of industries find themselves at risk by just simply showing up for work.

This is indeed a unique moment.  Never in our generation have so many people in so many walks of life been forced to consider their own potentially imminent mortality.

I’m certainly not immune to this phenomenon myself, in more respects than one.  My immune system simply does not make antibodies.  Flu shots and vaccines don’t work.  That’s why I get my antibodies from other people, via IV, every five weeks.  I’m over 65.  I’m at high risk to get the virus and would be at high risk if I get the virus. 

But there’s one difference between my situation and the situation faced by most other people.  I know where I’m going when I die.  Most of them don’t.

And according to God’s Word, the fact that so many are now considering their mortality is a very good thing: 

It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart. . .
 The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning,
While the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure (Ecclesiastes 7:2, 4).

Does it strike you as merely “coincidental” that all this is happening as we approach the biggest Christian celebration of the year—Resurrection Sunday?

The very thing the world desperately needs—the assurance of life, and even more, eternal life—is the one thing we Christians are celebrating and can offer to the frightened and the hopeless at this critical moment. 

The world has been terminally ill from the moment a virus called sin was introduced to the human race at the dawn of creation.  It has infected every single human being with its consequence—a 100% mortality rate—ever since. 

In one weekend, 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ provided the only effective vaccine against this fatal virus when He offered Himself as payment for our sins by His death on the cross.  In the only trial needed, He proved that it was 100% effective when He arose from the dead, three days later, just as He predicted (see I Corinthians 15:1-18).

His declaration of total victory over the ultimate cause of our mortality still echoes through the centuries 2,000 years later: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:25b-26).

Our world is just now beginning to recognize its urgent need for this ultimate vaccine that only comes through Jesus.  As our fellow men quake and shake in fear, how could we possibly withhold the good news they so desperately need?

Do you want to help with the spread of the good news of this life-saving vaccine? 

I have an idea–at least for those who are risking their lives to provide for our most basic needs.

These people deserve to be thanked.  I’ve prepared a letter of thanks to be enclosed in a card or sent electronically to anyone you know who finds themselves unexpectedly at risk on the frontlines in the battle against this virus.  It will be coming to you shortly via email.

This letter thanks them for their service and sacrifices on our behalf.  Then it tells them of the One who sacrificed everything for them, and proved it by coming back from the dead. 

It encourages them that there is a vaccine against what they fear most—death.  It tells them how to “vaccinate” themselves.  And it can be an opportunity for you to invite them to your church, online, for Resurrection Sunday. 

Perhaps by sharing this letter of appreciation with others you can be like Queen Esther in her nation’s time of crisis—a person divinely placed in your friend’s life for just such a time as this.

And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance’” (Luke 5:31-32).