When the first settlers hit the shores of America, they brought death to themselves and to the natives. This unfamiliar mix of Native Americans and Europeans formulated immediate and grave illness, biologically defenseless to each other’s germs.
It was something like what I experienced several weeks ago. I came down with a head cold like I had never had before. I battled it for three weeks. The cold’s origin was Holland. I visited a friend of mine who had just come back from there. He was snared by this monumental “bug”. With a deeply debilitating grasp, it caught my body off guard, confronting a strong and alien strand far from the “common cold”.
It is all about immunity. Our bodies have to have exposure to infectious germs in order to develop the antibodies to fight against them. The early settlers to America brought new contagious diseases which killed an estimated 90 percent of Native Americans with whom they had contact. These indigenous Americans were doomed by germs they had never experienced – smallpox, measles, flu and a variety of viruses.
Conversely, these Native Americans (“Indians”) exposed the early settlers to their contagious diseases to which the settlers were not immune.
Between starvation and being confronted by the warring attacks and unfamiliar germs of these Native Americans, the first colonies lost most of their population.
The fear of this same tragic exposure to new and unfamiliar sicknesses faces today’s SPACE TRAVEL, particularly with our U.S. plans of a man on Mars in 25 years. Are there deadly Martian microbes on the red planet?
We do not know but need to find out. For the next few years, unmanned exploratory digs on Mars will take place bringing back to earth soil samples for analysis.
Similarly any of us can “catch and comedown with” fatal SPIRITUAL contacts. Exposure to immorality can take away our divine gift of immortality, perhaps catching us off guard, delivering a deadly blow to the presence of God within. Associating with people and places that violate that relationship is much like marital infidelity. As God puts it “…for I the Lord your God am a jealous God”. [Exodus 34:14] How enraged with jealously we would be to see our spouse in the arms of another. Putting ourselves in the arms of sin in the eyes of a jealous God, breaks our committed love relationship with our loving Maker.
Pride, pleasure, wealth and fame ever tempt us to break our relationship with God. Committed fidelity to Our Maker is our only hope to gain immunity to the spiritual death of sin that surrounds us.
This earth is not our true home. We tread in dangerous and unknown territory; exposed to foreign invaders of body and soul.
May we ever be on guard as we venture this world’s pilgrimage, staying on track home – toward Our Father’s Kingdom.
The Rev. John Burkhart, Ph.D., is a retired Episcopal priest and professor of psychology; he can be contacted at email@example.com or visit his blog at inspirationsandideas.