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Is Covid-19 God's Judgment? A Time To Come Clean

Christ Lutheran Church
Cleveland OH
March 20, 2020
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras

A Time To Come Clean

During any large scale emergency or crisis our spiritual thinking becomes more clear.

People have been asking me, as a pastor, what does this mean? Is this God’s judgment on us for our sins. It’s not only members who are asking, but also others. The same thing happened following 9/11, people began to ask important questions. And so let me do my best to answer them.

First I must confess that we clergy have not done our job as well as we could. We all love to preach and teach about the love of God, and to call upon him in times of trouble. But we are weaker when it comes to teaching about the judgment of God.

We speak about social sins, corporate sins, and even about personal sins. But only as part of a sort of spiritual self-help, or self-improvement program. How to be a better father, or mother or manager of money etc.

This will never do.

We must speak about individual transgressions against the ten commandments. We must announce aloud that when we love ourselves above God, when we abuse his name, when we despise public worship in the church, when we disobey our parents, commit murder (“whoever hates his brother is a murderer”), when we play fast and lose with sexuality, sexual identity and marital intimacy (in fact, or in our minds), when we steal, bear false witness and covet our neighbors property … when we do these things we are guilty of personal sin that God condemns and promises to judge and punish.

They wages of sin is still death. Physical death, spiritual death, eternal death and punishment in hell for all who will not repent and turn to Christ.

There.

We’ve come clean.

We have said what needs to always be said lest this world turn into what it currently is: a generation lost in darkness not knowing its left had from its right.

Noble thoughts and self-righteous gestures carry no weight with God; only the cross of Jesus does, on which he died for our sins. Only faith in him, his life, death and resurrection avails before God. This cleanses us from all sin, and justifies us before God.

But even that is not the end of the story. To appropriate the mercy God displayed by the cross we must believe it and receive it. This is done by Holy Baptism by which we enter into his death. Baptism is a locational reality, not just a notion or talking point. By it we leave the domain of darkness, and enter into Christ, and by him into the Father and the Spirit as well. For we are baptized both in and into, “the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.

Upon baptism we must then turn our lives around. We must live the baptismal life which consists first of entering into Holy Communion with Jesus by the Eucharist (Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion) which is not just bread and wine, but by consecration becomes the true Body and Blood of Jesus. There is no symbolism here, only the Flesh and Blood of our Exalted Lord for the Life of the Word.

Nor are we done yet in explicating the holy Christian religion. The entire existence of a Christian is one that leads to the altar, and proceeds from it.

Baptism and Christian instruction and study have only one purpose: to lead us to the altar to Commune with the Holy One. But that is not the end, because when we leave the altar we take the love of Christ that we receive there, into the world and live lives in imitation of Christ.

Nor is that the end, because we all have what we might call an “expiration date.” The truest Holy Communion that we can have with Christ, and with the Blessed Trinity is when we leave this earthly life behind. “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:23)

St. Augustine said that if a man bows his knee he has humbled himself before God, but not completely until he prostrates himself with his face in the dust. But at the risk of correcting the great Saint even when we are prostrate we can still lower ourselves further; and that is to be buried in the ground.

But as we never die alone, but with Christ, we are never buried alone, but also with Christ. To what end? So that we might be raised to newness of life with him. (Romans 6:3 FF)

Now we have successfully summarized the Christian religion. Both Law and Gospel. Sin and Grace. Judgment and Salvation. Anything less is an incomplete explanation.

And so let us examine the present emergency in light of this exposition.

As every Eucharist is an installment of Christ’s return (not a symbol or reminder but an actual piece of it – “realized eschatology”); even so we could think of every trouble including this present one as an installment of God’s final judgment.

Does it punish sin and sinners now? Yes. But nothing that is not well merited for our countless violations against God’s Holy Law. Does it wake us up and make us look for relief? Yes, or soon will as things get worse. And when that time comes you will find the answer to all your questions in the one, holy Christian and apostolic church of the ages. As Scripture says: Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

Every trouble is a call for both Christian and unbeliever alike to repent of their sins, and pray to God for pardon. He will grant it. For Scripture promises: “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

To learn more go the our website: www.christlutherancleveland.org . If your church is closed you are welcome to worship at ours. Pray that your pastors may remain healthy so that they may continue to give you the gifts of God.