In 1 Corinthians 15:20-27, Paul sees the resurrection of Christ as God’s promise and sign guaranteeing the resurrection at the end of the age. Jesus is the firstfruits of the coming harvest. The new creation began with an empty tomb. Even with the threat of COVID and social distancing, Jesus is Lord and God is putting all enemies–even the coronavirus–under his feet.
We’ve forgotten what pandemics are like since we’ve had a long stretch without one. COVID-19 has resulted in some rational precautions and some irrational stockpiling. What is healthy concern and what is paralyzing fear? In my first ever virtual sermon (after voluntarily suspending group worship services), I start with FDR’s first inaugural address, then look at Jesus’ words about fear, anxiety, and ultimate priorities found in Luke 12:22-34. Jesus tells us not to worry about daily needs. If our Father delights in giving us his eternal kingdom, he certainly will take care of our daily needs. While we should take precautions, we should not, to paraphrase Paul, fear as those who have no hope. But God doesn’t give us the kingdom as a possession; he calls us into his service to bring the kingdom to others. That is why Jesus says our soul is more than food and our body is more than clothes. We need these things, but believers have their life force (soul) to propel them into service for others. We have our bodies as instruments to care and minister to others. In the midst of this crisis, we need to be like the Christians in the plagues of the second and third centuries. Don’t know what they did? Listen to the sermon.