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What Martin Luther Teaches Us About Coronavirus

George Dunlap, April 18, 2020. Today I woke up by the soft purring of 1 of our 3 cats, Jasmine, so named…of my daughters Disney fascination. I grabbed my morning tea and fruit, and jumped on the computer; to read today’s Coronavirus updates. While all along wondering when our Catholic Churches will reopen? I miss those gatherings of coughing and sneezing parishioners. Maybe now we will take seriously an on going concern…of allowing or welcoming… known sick Catholics in our Churches for the sake of filling the pews. We must all respect the health of all by staying at home if sick. But as Martin Luther comments below…our responsibility, as healthy Christians, is not to “hide” at home either.

Is it faithful to flee an epidemic? German reformer’s reflection on the plague can guide Christians in China and everywhere the virus has spread. Emmy Yang January 30, 2020

Image: Betsy Joles / Stringer / Getty Images

From its epicenter in Wuhan, China, the current coronavirus outbreak is stoking fear and disrupting travel and business across the globe. More than 150 people have died from the virus in China alone, and more than 8,000 are infected across 20 countries—exceeding the SARS epidemic in 2003. [Update: As of March 15, more than 3,200 people have died in China, and more than 168,000 have been infected across 120 countries.]

Citizens in Wuhan, a major central city comparable to Chicago, are under lockdown by the government and public activities have come to a standstill, including annual celebrations for Chinese New Year (which began on January 25). Chinese Christians, in Wuhan and China at large, have faced difficult decisions about whether to join the millions of Chinese who return home to visit family (as is customary during the lunar holiday season), to flee from the mainland, or even to gather for regular Sunday services.

But are followers of Jesus right to flee an epidemic when people are suffering and dying?

In the 16th century, German Christians asked theologian Martin Luther for a response to this very question.

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