Rabies, Scabies, Scurvy, Whooping Cough, Mumps, German Measles…
What do they all have in common? Epidemics that came, devastated lives and were eventually controlled…
In 1818, Ignaz Phillip Semmelweis was born into a world of dying women. The finest hospitals lost one out of six young mothers to the scourge of “childbed fever.” A doctor’s daily routine began in the dissecting room where he performed autopsies. From there he made his way to the hospital to examine expectant mothers without ever pausing to was his hands. Dr. Semmelweis was the first man in history to associate such examinations with the resultant infection and death. His own practice was to wash with a chlorine solution, and after eleven years and the delivery of 8,537 babies, he lost only 184 mothers–about one in fifty. He spent the vigor of his life lecturing and debating with his colleagues. Once he argued, “Puerperal fever is caused by decomposed material, conveyed to a wound. . .I have shown how it can be prevented. I have proved all that I have said. But while we talk ,talk, talk, gentlemen, women are dying. I am not asking anything world shaking. I am asking you only to wash. .. For God’s sake, wash your hands.”
But virtually no one believed him. Doctors and midwives had been delivering babies for thousands of years without washing, and no outspoken Hungarian was going to change them now! Semmelweis died insane at the age of 47, his wash basins discarded, his colleagues laughing in his face, and the death rattle of a thousand women ringing in his ears.
Growing up we thought that in 2020 we’d have flying cars and here we are teaching people how to wash their hands.
The panic occasioned by the current pandemic of Covid-19, the sickness caused by the latest strain of the corona family of viruses is arguably one of the worst in the last century. Many are in abject terror and utter confusion. In the midst of the crisis however we have a splendid opportunity to stem the breakdown the family has been suffering and plug its hemorrhaging. The partials lock downs, inclusive of the temporary closure of schools and many companies shifting to a work form home mode of operation offers us a much needed reprieve from the ‘tyranny of the urgent’ ‘
HOPE FOR THE FAMILY
In the first instance we have an opportunity to reconnect, or perhaps connect, for some, with ourselves. We can harness this time to create some distance from ourselves so we can see ourselves. In order to survive down here we need to breathe deeply up there, in the realm of the spiritual. To be absolutely clear, I am not in the least bit suggesting that the spiritually alert cannot or will not become victims of this disease. I am speaking of surviving the chaos, the madness, the panic, the anxiety, the crassness, the basal survival instinct that will drive us to selfish hoarding and such. The usual days and weeks of work and making the money doesn’t readily lend itself to that. If we consider it a kind of ‘Sabbath’ if you will, we can learn cease the rush, cease the busyness, cease the flurry of activity and mental clanging so we can center down.
When we take this time to center down it will allow us to be far more receptive and perceptive to those with whom we are closest, but are often farthest from in our quest to keep up with the Joneses. Take time to see, not watch those who share the space called home with you. See their hair length, see the dimple, see the birth mark. See the hopes dreams, fears and will to survive in their eyes. Hear their souls. Play together. Disconnect from the wires and wireless devices. Decide that you will carefully watch over the elderly and those living with disabilities in your community.
This is also a time when we can explore ways the family can share its soul with others by finding someone to share what may very well become limited goods and supplies with. Tragedy has a way of rehumanizing us or further dehumanizing us. Please let it be the former. The temptation to be self serving will likely increase exponentially. Resist. Allow that to be the mark by which your family will be distinguished. Lead by example so that legacy can be displayed before your children
The adage, the family that prays together stays together may yet prove to be the straw that breaks the back of this monster. This would be a good time to erect or re-establish the family altar. As you do allow the spirit of community to infuse your beseeching of God. Think of the other, think of the greater common good.
Consider this advice from one, Lynn Ungar
Sing. Pray. Center down. And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart. Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful. (You can hardly deny it now).
Know that our lives are in one another’s hands. (Surely, this has come clear). Do not reach out your hands. Reach out your heart. Reach out your words. Reach out all the tendrils of compassion that move, invisibly, where we cannot touch. Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, so long as we all shall live.
HOPE FOR THE INDIVIDUAL
Psalm 116:Psalm 116
1 I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”
5 The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
6 The Lord protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
7 Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
Depending on an unreliable person in crisis is like taking off ava person’s clothes on a cold day or like rubbing salt in a wound.
Depending on an unreliable person in crisis is like taking off a person’s clothes on a cold day or like rubbing salt in a wound.
Prov. 20: 25 GNT
The Corona Virus has left us reeling from a sense of:
We can’t predict the future but we know the one who is already there
We don’t know the future but we know who holds it
2 Thes.3:16 May the Lord of peace himself continually grant you peace in all circumstances
I was viewing a short video message from one of my distance mentors, Prof. Ramesh Richard. He always has some profound truths. This time was no less. He reminded us that The Lord of Peace, the prince of peace, Yahweh Shalom
- Sovreign over all circumstances
- Shepherds us through all circumstances
- Saviour in all circumstances
Psalm 37: 25 I am old now; I have lived a long time,
but I have never seen good people abandoned by the Lord
Psalm 27: 1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27: I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
Be like Jeremiah who bought a field while he was in military confinement just before his nation was about to ransacked and his people taken away into captivity. Jer. 32:15 – 15 For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.’
Jeremiah acted as one who knew that every crisis has an expiry date
He didn’t allow his hopes and dreams to grind to a halt. He had a vision of life on the other side of the hill.
PRAYER FOR THE WORLD
Beloved around the world.
Heavenly Father, You have prepared your throne in the heavens and Your Kingdom reigns over all. Watch over us Lord and keep us safe. Despatch Angels from Heaven to the four corners of the earth and cover us in Your secret place. Lord preserve us from all evil and keep our eyes fixed on You, Father, at this time when it is so easy to panic and worry.
Almighty God, touch, strengthen and heal where healing is required. Release us from all fear, Father, and replace fear with your Spirit of peace – Your peace that surpasseth all understanding.
Father as we remain vigil, keep our eyes fixed on You, Jehovah Rohi, The Lord my Shepherd. Let us recognize Lord, that You alone can shield and protect us. We ask that the plague pass over us Lord. Draw men and women to You, Almighty God by the power of Your Holy Spirit, and release them from all bondage that would prevent them from drawing closer to You, Almighty God.
We ask all these things in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen and Amen.
This message was shared with the Meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Eastern St. Andrew via WhatsApp.