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Christ the Redeemer statue illuminated to look like a doctor: Paying forward the sacrifice of those who risk their lives for us

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Christ the Redeemer statue illuminated to look like a doctor
Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue is lit up in the likeness of a doctor during an Easter service in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sunday, April 12, 2020.

Deadly tornadoes in the South caused “catastrophic” damage and at least seven deaths after touching down Sunday, according to officials. Hundreds of structures have been damaged by the storms.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency over the storms. “This is not how anyone wants to celebrate Easter Sunday,” he said in a statement. But the good news is that “the state and our first responders are working around the clock and will not rest until this is over.”

In other news, Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue was illuminated to look like a doctor on Easter Sunday, a tribute to frontline healthcare workers battling the coronavirus pandemic around the world. The flags of several countries affected by the outbreak were also projected onto the monument, and the city’s archbishop performed a mass at the base of the statue in which he paid tribute to medical workers.

The horrific overnight storms in the South remind us that a pandemic does not displace other tragedies. People still have heart attacks and strokes. They still suffer from cancer and diabetes. One reason “flattening the curve” is so essential is that, otherwise, COVID-19 patients could fill up hospitals to the exclusion of those who need medical care for other reasons.

But the responses in the South and the tribute in Brazil also remind us that we owe a perpetual debt to those who risk their lives every day for us.

Paying forward the sacrifice of those who risk their lives for us

According to reports, thousands of healthcare workers in the US have contracted coronavirus from patients and dozens have died. First responders after storms risk their lives by going into damaged structures looking for survivors.

Every year we are reminded by Good Friday and Easter Sunday that our salvation was made possible by Jesus’ horrific atoning death and victorious resurrection. We are encouraged to demonstrate our gratitude to our risen Lord by worshipping him and by sharing his love with others, paying forward the grace we have received.

In the same way, we owe an unpayable debt to those who risk their lives for us every day. Healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic; emergency workers who respond to tragedies and disasters; police and firefighters who know every day that they could die in the performance of their duty—each of them needs and deserves our daily intercession and continual expressions of gratitude.

One way I hope the pandemic changes our culture permanently is by making us more publicly and perpetually grateful for such sacrificial servants. May we never take for granted again their diligence and commitment.

And may we find a sacrificial way to serve someone today as they have served us. Scripture calls us to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

Whose burden can you make lighter today?