The ethic of service to others as vital as ever in the past
I have been thinking a lot about coronavirus and how the world has suddenly become reacquainted with the oldest travelling companion of human history: existential dread and the fear of unavoidable disease.
The world is urgently striving to find a vaccine and by and large the people of our modern world of all races, all faiths and in all continents I see as psychologically underequipped as understanding and tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
The various faiths, however, have actually handled epidemics for over 2000 years in the form of one plague or another.
Today, practical theologies says much about care, sacrifice and the community and are as vital now as ever in the past.
In thinking about care, and care for others and a time when infectious disease could pose risks to our doctors, nurses and care workers in the Solomon Islands should coronavirus cross our borders, I came across some words by Lyman Stone, a research fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and an advisor at the consulting firm Demographic Intelligence, presumably in the United States.
Mr. Stone said recently, “Be eager to sacrifice for others, even at the cost of your own life. Obsessively maintain a scrupulous hygienic routine to avoid infecting others. Maintain a lifeline to a meaningful human community that can care for your mind and soul. These are the guiding stars that have shepherded Christians through countless plagues for millennia. As the world belatedly wakes up to the fact that the age of epidemics is not over, these ancient ideas still have modern relevance.”
“The Christian motive for hygiene and sanitation does not arise in self-preservation but in an ethic of service to our neighbor.”