Grace Words

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Fear Not The Mortal Ill

On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed 95 challenges to the Catholic Church to the Castle Church door in Wittenburg, Germany. Most historians cite that as the beginning of what became known as the Reformation.

Luther felt he was in uncharted territory, but he was determined to lead the Church he loved out of her worldliness into spirituality.

All did not go well.

Luther was tried and excommunicated in 1521. His life was in danger. Though Luther was trying to reform the Church, once he revolted, others felt free to do the same. What followed was, for many, excommunication, persecution, and execution. Luther felt deep responsibility and wrestled with deep depression.

If all that weren’t enough, in August of 1527 the black plague re-emerged in Germany and in August, struck his town of Wittenberg. The healthy and wealthy fled. Luther and his family stayed and ministered to the sick. Luther’s son contracted the disease but recovered. His pregnant wife also contracted the disease and recovered, but their newborn daughter, weakened in utero, died at the age of five months. It was during this time Luther wrote his most famous hymn based on Psalm 46:
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.
Our helper He amidst the flood of mortal ills prevailing.

Covid-19 is not the Black Plague, but like the Black Plague, it is a “mortal ill.” By all means, be wise and be careful. Wash your hands, and if you are sick, stay away from people who are well. But keep this in mind: our hope is not in any of these precautions, but in the Lord of Hosts. As Luther wrote in verse 2
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He
The Lord of hosts His name, from age to age the same
And He must win the battle.