As I write this towards the beginning of April, most are secluded in isolation, as the specter of the latest pandemic stalks the nation. Such a restriction on our movements is alien to us all, but we can draw strength from the knowledge to be found in the scriptures. We do not know whether these events foreshadow the return of our Lord, as Jesus beforehand prophesied about the terrible times around the fall of Jerusalem, “There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven” (Luke 21:11).
This is a time for forced reflection in our solitude. It is perhaps no coincidence that the current period of quarantine is 14 days: For in the law of Moses (Leviticus 13) this was the time of isolation for what was termed leprosy. It is perhaps no coincidence that the current period of quarantine is 14 days…And at the end of that time, only if there was no evidence of the disease could the individual resume his place in society.
Note that Paul uses the same Greek word for the “separation” of Peter in Gal 2:12 as the Greek for Lev 13:14: It should have been a period of reflection and learning by Peter, just as this can be a time for contemplation by ourselves. Like the lepers of old, we are “shut up”.
Whether our release is by medical success or the return of our Lord, it is up to us to prepare ourselves. Because of technology, most of us can still share in the remembrance every Sunday, some by sharing visually in real time, and some by watching streaming video. And we should take the opportunity to reach out to those also isolated, and share words of comfort and hope. We should not wallow in despair, but “lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).
So let us remember the words of the Psalmist, almost certainly Moses:
So as we each withdraw to our tent, we remember indeed it is our God who is our refuge, Our Lord Jesus whose return is our ultimate hope. So let us encourage each other as the day approaches.