Quarantine is a sacrifice. It used to be the sacrifice of the few to save the many, but today it is the self- isolation of the many to save the many. Sacrifice is a theme we see throughout the Bible culminating in the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ to give us eternal life. One of the most famous sayings of our Lord is found in the gospel of John chapter 15 verse 13 “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”.
In Jesus’ time, lepers were kept away from their villages. Do read the account of Jesus Christ meeting the ten lepers in Luke 17 verses 11-19 and note His remarks about gratitude. In the middle of the 14th-century plague swept across Europe killing a third of the population. One of the groups with the highest death toll was that of monks and parish priests, who were trying to bring succor to their people. The shortage of clergy was so great that it led to the building of more colleges at Oxford and Cambridge Universities after the Black Death died out for a season.
Three hundred years later and the courageous villagers of Eyam, Derbyshire (Northern England) provide an example of self-sacrifice. In 1665 a villager ordered cloth from London, but unknown to anyone it contained plague bacteria. He became ill and died and the plague began to spread around the village. A new vicar, a replacement for a much-loved vicar, called a meeting outside the village to try to persuade his parishioners to self-isolate and save the surrounding villages. When the Earl of Chatsworth offered to provide food for the villagers they agreed. One woman had to bury all seven of her children and after about three hundred deaths the plague died out but did not spread to the surrounding area. Today this brave act is still remembered and the TV crews have already been to the village to interview the people living there.
Last week I read of a 72-year-old Italian priest who refused the ventilator that his parishioners had bought for him when COVID-19 struck. He wanted it to be used for a younger patient, who he did not even know. The priest died.
Let us give thanks to God that we are only being asked to lay down our social and wider family lives so that our fellow Queenslanders may live.
May God bless you and keep you safe