My Dear Augustana,
I realize that I missed something vital in Luther's piece, "Whether One Should Flew From the Plague." It's a central picture/idea/symbol of great power that recurs throughout. I should've lead with it he compares the plague to a fire:
What else is the epidemic but a fire which instead of consuming wood and straw devours life and body? You ought to think this way: “…the enemy has sent us poison and toxins. Therefore, I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, God will surely find me. In the meantime, I have done what the Lord expects of me and so I am not culpable for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely, as stated above. See, this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.
[re-translated by me, based on Luther's Works, vol. 3]
Let's do our part to extinguish the Conronavirus fire.
Be well and God Bless you All,
Pr. BillThe Rev. Dr. William R. Russell, Pastor Augustana Lutheran Church 612.965.1668 (mobile