Anthrax and Ebola
Two killer headlines on either side of the Atlantic! The anthrax scare occurred a few days ago when 75 Atlanta employees at the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention were accidentally exposed to the deadly anthrax bacteria. Apparently workers at another CDC lab sent an anthrax sample to the Atlanta lab but inadvertently failed to “inactivate” the killer bacteria, which the Atlanta researchers handled without proper safety gear. Fortunately none of the exposed workers has shown symptoms of anthrax. CDC authorities are reviewing their safety protocol. Unfortunately, across the Atlantic the exposure has been deadly. The mutant Ebola virus (fatal in up to 90 percent of cases) has spread across the nations of West Africa since January. “Ebola can fell its victims within days, causing severe fever and muscle pain, weakness, vomiting and diarrhea—in some cases shutting down organs and causing unstoppable bleeding.” At least 337 people have died so far this year. According to Dr. Bart Janssens, director of the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF), “‘The epidemic is now out of control. With the appearance of new sites in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, there is a real risk of it spreading to other areas.’” A statement from MSF warns, “‘The scale of the current Ebola epidemic is unprecedented in terms of geographical distribution, people infected and deaths.’” (http://news.yahoo.com/ebola-control-west-africa-163439458.html) As tragic and as fatal as the outbreak of anthrax and Ebola can be, the human race faces an even more deadly mutation. At least for exposure to anthrax and the Ebola virus, there are emergency protocols to “inactivate” these microscopic killers. But there is no human remedy for the deadly virus of sin. Our human condition is fatal: “The whole head is sick, the whole heart is diseased, from the sole of the foot to the head there is nothing healthy: only wounds, bruises and open sores not dressed, not bandaged, not soothed with ointment” (Isaiah 1:5-6 NJB). A revolting depiction of our moral condition, to be sure! And yet just a few lines later this stunning therapeutic offer from our Creator: “‘Come, let us talk this over. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool’” (vs 18). Red as crimson, red as blood—the color of the life transfusion Calvary offers every dying sinner like you, like me. Without His sacrificial death, we are utterly hopeless. Without His saving love we are dead. Though the symbols of His body and blood that we ingest today are uncontaminated, remember—they are a stark reminder of the deadly infectious disease, our fatal sin disease, that cost Christ His life. Forever. “By His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Forever and ever. Amen.