Hard to believe that this song was recorded over 55 years ago. The recording technology employed back then is definitely ancient by today's standards. We have come far in terms of our technology, but the song's message remains the same. Though the message could be considered cliché, its relevance to what is happening around the world could not be more timely and we would be all the wiser, to heed it.
There are parallels to what is happening today compared to when Jesus walked the earth. In Jesus' day, like today, social distancing was in effect. In Jesus' day, like today, certain people likely wore masks to cover their faces. In Jesus' day, like today, mandates were in effect. History has a way of repeating itself.
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9
How so, you ask?
In Jesus' day, the lepers were the outcasts of society. They were shunned and kept at a distance for fear of contracting leprosy. They were isolated physically and emotionally from the rest of society and were not able to participate in normal everyday activities.
And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be. Leveticus 13:45-46
Sound familiar? In today's world, we can become wary of others lest we become sick ourselves. Thus we are told to maintain social distancing. Thus we are told to wear masks. Thus we are told to isolate at home. Thus we are ordered to get vaccinated. Thus the unvaccinated are prevented from participating in the workforce and are excluded in some places from entering business establishments or even prohibited to open their businesses to the public. Like in Jesus' day, society now consists of separate classes of people – the clean-vaccinated and the unclean-unvaccinated.
The basis for this unwarranted distinction is fear. Fear drives people to do things that they would otherwise not do. How did Jesus approach this situation and what can we learn from his approach as it may apply to us today?
12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
Note that Jesus' approach was not one of social distancing. He allowed the man "who was covered with leprosy" to approach him. In the same circumstance, would we do the same? Jesus not only allowed the man to approach him but Jesus touched him. Jesus went against the accepted convention of his day.
Fear drives us to discriminate, oppose and separate from one another. Love drives us to accept, support and unite with one another.
1st John 4
16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.