Dear Christian, consider what may be taken from you in your earthly life:
- Your health
- Privileges like driving
- Possessing property of various kinds
- Gathering with others
- Your civil freedoms. Some of these are enumerated in the Bill of Rights and overlap with possessing property and gathering
Why are such things taken away from us from time to time? Consider this:
If we would be Christians, therefore, we must surely expect and count on having the devil with all his angels and the world as our enemies [Matthew 25:41; Revelations 12:9]. They will bring every possible misfortune and grief upon us. For where God’s Word is preached, accepted, or believed and produces fruit, there the holy cross cannot be missing [Acts 14:22]. And let no one think that he shall have peace [Matthew 10:34]. He must risk whatever he has upon earth — possessions, honor, house and estate, wife and children, body and life. Now, this hurts our flesh and the old Adam [Ephesians 4:22]. The test is to be steadfast and to suffer with patience [James 5:7-8] in whatever way we are assaulted, and to let go whatever is taken from us [1 Peter 2:20-21]. (LC III 65-66)
Quoted in Has American Christianity Failed? by Bryan Wolfmueller. Concordia Publishing House 2016, p. 204.
Should Christians consider it to be special persecution when we are forbidden from receiving the divine gifts of our Lord? This question deserves some consideration and discussion. To wit, are the preached word or the sacraments things that we should simply “let go” when they are taken from us? Can we expect the authorities who are trying to save earthly lives during a pandemic to share or even understand the Biblical Christian perspective on the divine gifts of our Lord? Must persecution always appear to be malicious?
Would it be naive to think that there are no influential people in the world today who are eager to use exceptional circumstances to harm our Lord’s Church by preventing her from receiving the things that sustain her very existence? Would it be naive to think that such people cannot do so in a way that appears friendly and reasonable to the world around us?
The quote above was written by Dr. Martin Luther. The book where the quote was found is teaching in this section about prayer. At the very least, active and continuous prayer must be part of the Church’s response.