In Featured, Pastor Paul's Blog

By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: ‘Rodeo’ as in… this really isn’t our first one, as far as disease goes. We’ve been here before. Maybe that’s the good news. I know I’m equipped with an inordinate, even maddening amount of positivity (“there’s a pony in here somewhere…”), but this “plague” that we’re dealing with isn’t the first one on record and probably won’t be the last. Well, now, that wasn’t very positive, was it?

If you think back 493 years or so, give or take a couple, the people of Wittenberg, Germany were scrambling to stay out of the way of a virus that had already seriously impacted countless lives around the world. Martin Luther, monk, priest, theologian, professor, pastor, and hymn writer had some prescient things to say about social responsibility in dire times. Digging deep  into his faith for some answers—or, more accurately, some responses, he came up with a plan for moving ahead. It’s a good one.

Here it is—a 493 year old manifesto:

“Therefore 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 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. 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 nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.” (Luther’s Works, Volume 43, page 132)

Prayer, social distancing, a strong sense of community responsibility, service – it’s all there. And it’s all right here as well. So let’s press on, take heart and remind ourselves early and often that this isn’t our first rodeo.

Now, go wash your hands.


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50works project, where be blogs about a different word each day. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche), or on his blog, Thriving Rhythms.

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  • Rosemary Brown

    Love this piece on Martin Luther – thank you, Paul. It’s a good read for all, and for all to take to heart!

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