What Then? Gladly Mixed Metaphors

One day, hopefully soon, the brilliant medical professionals of our world will complete the antibody test for COVID-19. It isn’t a vaccine, so you can still get sick; and it isn’t a treatment, so it won’t make you better. So, what’s the point?

The idea of an antibody test is to see if you have already had COVID-19 and gotten through it. Maybe you got sick but didn’t know what it was. Maybe you were just a bit out of it, and figured you caught a chest cold. Maybe you didn’t feel anything wrong at all. Whatever the case, the antibody test will say whether or not you had the virus.

Though there is no saying for certain, there is some professional consensus which says that if you have had COVID-19 and recovered, you are now immune, at least for a period of time. (Note: This article does not offer any medical advice.) Assuming this is correct, it is good news on several fronts. For starters, you are alive. And, as a bonus, you are immune! You can live your life without fear of the virus, and without fear of hurting others. Good for you! Now what?

Amidst all this turmoil, some people are looking down the road and asking: “What then?” They are wondering how we will recover as a nation and a people. Questions abound like, “When will we get back to ‘normal?’” “When can we go back to work?” “When can we get this thing moving again?” One natural response, I submit, would be that those who are immune could be on the proverbial front line. They are those who can work without fear on behalf of those who are still subject to the virus and its potentially deadly effects.

What a joy and a privilege, to be the one who, having been spared, now lives for others. Though you would not do it for fame, you would be an inspiration. I’m thinking about the old wartime posters of the Victory Farms, shining as a beacon of hope and charity, a light for a world in darkness, and a provider for those with nothing. Well, this is who you are even now.

You have, in fact, been infected (Rom 5:12), but you didn’t get better. This infection has left you dead (Eph 2:1). But the greatest of doctors has cured you, as for Him no disease is incurable (St. Augustine: Sermon 97A, 2). Jesus has willingly infected Himself with your sickness and suffered its consequences (Gal 3:13). Jesus has taken your death upon Himself, and He has destroyed it (Rev 1:18, see also: entire Bible). Jesus has rendered death obsolete for those who are joined to Him.

The tests aren’t out yet, so I have no idea if you’re immune to COVID-19. But you are immune to its longest-term effects. You have been bound to Jesus in His own death and resurrection (Rom 6:4a). It’s a package deal, and it’s a done deal, because He Himself has done it. Now it is given you to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4b). You have the antibody to the real death. You are free to live, and that without fear. You are free to serve those still stuck in the Great Quarantine; those who are bound in sin and darkness; who know not our Great Physician, or who love Him not.

You can still get sick now. You can still “die” now. And so, you should be responsible with the life God has given you, for yourself and for others. But in the final calculation, you’ve already died; so now you don’t have to die when you die. You can check the grammar against the Word: it works out. You have new life, and you get to spend it planting and watering, nurturing and feeding; not for a mere earthly harvest, which will be consumed, but a harvest that belongs to the Victorious One.