Our pastor’s Lenten series is titled “Confronting Evil” and each week he covers a specific topic. First was bitterness, then betrayal, and third cynicism.
As we experience the flood of information and the dramatic changes that the coronavirus has created, I am realizing how those individual topics can be translated into this very experience.
Though I have not experienced the virus yet, nor know anyone personally who has, I have to admit that I could understand that this virus is a 21st century evil–or at least can spiral us into a mindset that stirs up the very characteristics we might identify as un-Christian responses.
This week the series subtitle is “Putting Satan behind You.” We cannot put the temptations or the emotions behind us in dealing with evil, we must address it. We live in community, not isolation, therefore we confront a wide range of evils.
Using the Wesley Study Bible, I often read the sidebars. Today as I read about Jesus confronting Satan during his 40 days in the wilderness, I noticed that one of Wesley’s core terms is ‘temptation’:
“. . . Wesley knew that temptation more often comes to us in subtle ways. Our bodies are frail and subject to pain, which inevitably brings temptation. The human environment in which we dwell is also a wellspring of temptation, and our character is constantly being formed and reformed by the influences, both moral and immoral, around us. Sadly, believers who fall
short of perfect love are also a source of temptation, for they are still in the grip of inward sin. Their pride, jealousy, and other “unholy tempers” can provoke the same tempers in others. . . “(p. 1166)
As I read through this explanation, I realized that right now, today, in the midst of the global battle against a virus, we confront evil in how we manage even this event.
As we confront the virus, be alert to the emotions that we must manage: bitterness, betrayal, and cynicism. We are humans who must rely on God even in the midst of a pandemic.
I close with verse 10 from Matthew 4:1-11 reading:
“Away with you Satan! for it is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God,
And serve only him.’”
Even Jesus had to confront evil, but he lead by example and we should follow his model. Let’s face the reality of a pandemic, but rely on God. Serve one another in love in all the ways that you can following all the medical advice that you can.
Heal our bodies, minds, and souls
so we can fend off evil
and love one another
with total abandon. Amen.