COVID-19: Love and self-discipline needed to protect the vulnerable
LWF leaders send letter to member churches offering prayers, support, and encouragement
(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) President Archbishop Dr Panti Filibus Musa and General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge have written to all member churches offering prayers, support and encouragement as they face up to the challenges presented by the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.
“This is a time to continue trusting in God’s compassionate presence among humankind,” the Lutheran leaders say.
Drawing on the biblical text from 2 Timothy 1:7, chosen as the ‘Daily Watchword’ for 10 March in the Moravian tradition, Junge and Musa urge all church members to reflect on the words: ‘For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.’
Change practices to contain virus
The call for self-discipline, they note, is paired with the call to love our neighbor. “Love and self-discipline belong together, even more these days,” they say. By keeping social distance and “holding back from unnecessary contact, we are able to show our love and concern for those who are most vulnerable,” they add.
As restrictive measures continue to be imposed in some countries, the Lutheran leaders say, this may call for assessing practices regarding gatherings and worship. They commend the Asian member churches for the example they have given and urge all other churches to take necessary steps to contain the virus and protect the vulnerable.
Remember other health challenges
In the 11 March letter, the Lutheran leaders say: “We take courage in the knowledge that God never abandons us, even if it means going through the experience of the cross. We see the cross of Christ as the sign of our strength and hope.”
Junge and Musa advise all member churches to follow instructions from the public health structures of their countries, as well as the World Health Organization and other official sources, so as to stop the spread of false information.
They also invite members of all churches to pray for each other, especially for those at the epicenter of the virus. Finally, as we relate to this new challenge, they say, let us also remember those who are daily exposed to other health challenges such as Dengue fever, Malaria, HIV & AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses.
“Understanding anew the vulnerability of human life,” the letter concludes, “may this be a moment to recommit to prayer for and loving service of our neighbor.”
Read the letter