In this month’s message of inspiration, Rev. Glenn Hanna, missions pastor at Allegheny Center Alliance Church, discusses the power of love in a pandemic.
Photo courtesy of Rev. Glenn Hanna
In about A.D. 250, a great plague smashed the Roman Empire and did what no army could have done—it nearly brought the Roman Empire to its knees. It was the Plague of Cyprian named after the Bishop of Carthage, who is now known as St. Cyprian. It was named after him because he was the most prolific writer of the details and story of the plague, which lasted around 20 years. At its peak, 5,000 people were claimed to have died every day due to it.
While some people reasonably ran in fear of those infected, others ran towards their neighbors and friends, caring for the sick and dying at great personal risk. They loved the commandment of God to “love your neighbor as yourself” more than they feared death.
Jesus said in John 12:25, “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” The beautiful promise of salvation is that this life is only a prelude to the next and greater life. Christians believe that there is no fear in death because Christ has conquered death. Just as Christ was willing to give His life on behalf of others, He also calls us to be willing to give our lives on behalf of those whom He loves.
We can look to people like Mother Theresa, who lived her life among the impoverished, most rejected, and poorly cared for people imaginable, and rightly consider her a saint, a hero, a giant. Yet she was simply doing what God calls all of us to do: “love your neighbor as yourself.” She was giving up her life, her preferences, her comfort, and her safety to express the love of Christ to the hopeless.
We can all be saints, heroes, and giants to someone. When pandemics hit the world, when economic crises slam our businesses, and when our family and neighbors suffer illness and isolation, God calls us to offer His love, comfort, and solace. While some may run in panic, it’s possible to show preference to the least fortunate of those among us.
Rev. Glenn Hanna is the missions pastor at Allegheny Center Alliance Church.