“Live an exemplary life among your neighbors so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. ” (1 Peter 2:12)

Spread by rats and poor sanitation, the Black Death swept across Europe and Asia in the 1300’s, by far the worst plague ever. When Martin Luther was dealing with it in his town, he wrote these wise words — words that can help guide us in how we approach things happening in our world right now:

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 nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.

PERHAPS IT IS TIME TO REACH OUT IN WISDOM:

Pray for your neighbors. And then make a yard sign! Or pull out all those old cards and notes, and write a note to your neighbors (according to the CDC there is no evidence Coronavirus can be spread on notes or mail). If you don’t know their name — no problem. If you are a family, have the kids make the sign or cards, and color them. Write something like this,

“Praying for you! We love you!  or

“We love our neighborhood! God bless you!  or

We are praying for you, asking God to bless the health and peace of all of those on our block. Please know you are not forgotten and you are valuable to us! With love, the Straits, 7391 S. Glencoe Way.”

You can deliver them on a family walk, or mail them, put them in the door, or or play ring and run. Simply put, we have time around our neighborhood now. Let’s connect, even if from a distance.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever. (Psalm 28:7-9)

A prayer for our neighborhood:

Father in Heaven, we trust you. You cover us with your protection. You are our shepherd, and you carry your lambs in difficult times. We ask you to mercifully protect our families from any sickness or disease. Watch over our church family, too. Lord Jesus, may we see your hand at work in this strange and uncharted time? May it be a time of spiritual revival for our neighbors and country? May this time of virus open doors and hearts in our neighborhoods, please? Help each of us to live in such a way that we are wise, but also willing to do your bidding. As we wash our hands, may you be washing our hearts. May we become more observant, gracious, helpful, and unafraid. Help us to live good and godly lives among our neighbors. Amen.