Is This God's Judgement?
A natural question that comes up at times like these is: Why is this evil happening? Is this God’s judgment? And if so, for what particular sin is the judgment being visited upon us? The question is also asked, what good is God trying to bring about through the pandemic? Pastors get asked this often.
In all humility, I do not have a complete or satisfactory answer. But this does not mean that I have nothing to say about the matter. My study of God’s Word with its attendant wisdom provides me with some helpful things to share. It certainly provides us with hope.
It seems to me that there are two pitfalls to be avoided. The first is the temptation, not only to assign the current assault of disease to God, but also to be confident as to knowing exactly why He sent it. The second temptation is to confidently state that God had nothing to do with it, nor does the threat have anything to do with sin.
There are a couple of calamities brought to Jesus’ attention in Luke’s Gospel the 13th Chapter, the one having to do with Galileans who had been slaughtered by Pilate, and the other having to do with a tower at Siloam toppling and killing eighteen. Jesus asked his disciples, do you think these unfortunates were any worse sinners than anyone else? He assured them that they were not. But then He added, “But unless you repent, you will likewise perish.”
A healthy attitude to take toward disasters that come our way is that the Sovereign Lord allows such things to happen in our sin-diseased world. For sure they should remind us what we justly deserve, all of us, for our sinfulness. But importantly, they also remind us of God’s grace and mercy offered to spare us the ultimate devastation on the Last Day. They can help us number our days and gain a heart of wisdom (cf. Ps 90:12), and to call on Him in our need (cf. Ps 86:7).
Since You Asked…
What do Lutherans believe is given in Holy Communion? “We believe, teach, and confess that in the Holy Supper the body and blood of Christ are truly and essentially present and are truly distributed and received with the bread and wine. We believe, teach, and confess that the words of the testament of Christ are to be understood in no other way than in their literal sense, and not as though the bread symbolized the absent body and the wine the absent blood of Christ, but that because of the sacramental union they are truly the body and blood of Christ” (Formula of Concord, Epitome, Art. VII.)
The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10 that the bread is “a participation in the Lord’s body.” If the Lord’s body were not truly present, the bread would perhaps be a participation in his spirit. But Paul says it is a participation in his body!