Welcome to the Seven Rivers blog! Remember when you were young and you refused to eat the vegetables that your parents gave you? Well, it turns out they were right. You are what you eat. The Coronavirus (Covid-19) has us indoors consuming a lot of news, social media, and content that can make us anxious and afraid. This blog is intended to provide us with "good food" that will cause our eyes and hearts to be lifted upward to God and outward in love to our neighbors.
Martin Luther on COVID-19
In August of 1527 the bubonic plague came to Wittenberg, Germany where the reformer Martin Luther was living with his pregnant wife, Katharina. While everyone else began fleeing the city, they decided to stay and opened up their home as a ward for the sick. A pastor in the town of Breslau about 200 miles to the east wrote Luther to ask his opinion about what a Christian should do in such circumstances. His response is amazingly relevant and a help to Christians thinking about Coronavirus almost 500 years later! The full letter is here (12 pages). My executive summary of the highlights is here (3 pages).
Suddenly, what has always been true is plainly apparent - we live in a dangerous world, and your house stands as a missional outpost of love amidst that danger. This is your moment to rise to that call. Everything you have ever known about household rhythms is now disrupted, which means this is an incredible opportunity to form new rhythms that guide you towards God’s power in a time of humanity’s powerlessness. That guide you towards courage in a cultural moment of fear. That guide you towards concentration and presence, in a blitz of information and alerts. That guide you towards self-sacrifice in a mood of self-preservation. And above all - that guide you towards a household gathered in love, rather than scattered in fear.
Keeping the Heart in Times of Adversity
My men’s group recently read through a treatise called, Keeping the Heart: A Puritan’s View of How to Maintain Your Love for God, by John Flavel. It was one of the best things I have read in many years! It is so rich and chocked full of nuggets of truth, wisdom, and encouragement. The springboard for Flavel’s work is Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” You can find the whole work in PDF here. But if nothing else, you must read chapter 5, “Keeping the Heart in the Time of Adversity”.
More Gospel Resources on COVID-19
The pastoral team uses The Gospel Coalition website regularly. They have put together a growing collection of practical and theological articles on the Coronavirus here.