Coronavirus and our sacred duty to senior citizens

The obligation to our seniors is sacred. The Fifth Commandment declares, “Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” This statement is no mere admonition to be kind to your parents. As the Westminster Larger Catechism declares, “By father and mother, in the fifth commandment, are meant, not only natural parents, but all superiors in age and gifts; and especially such as, by God’s ordinance, are over us in place of authority, whether in family, church, or commonwealth.”

In fact, the Catechism says that honoring those superior in age also means the “defense and maintenance of their persons and authority.” Protecting your parents, your grandparents, and your vulnerable neighbor is your moral duty. In a time of deadly trouble, I’m reminded of God’s ancient admonition to the people of Israel—“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.”

People of faith should not presume that we face a new challenge. There is ancient wisdom that can guide us as we reject fear (“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control”) and also reject recklessness or negligence. Stupidity in the name of fearlessness is still stupidity.