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The brass serpent

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To the editor: Yesterday, I kept my appointment with the pharmacy at Fred Meyer’s East where an efficient, but considerate, young lady administered my Moderna Covid booster shot, absolutely free of charge to me. Early last spring, the only side effect of the previous two vaccinations occurred when I attempted to remove the bandaids from my hirsute shoulder. Ouch! This time, however, I woke up in the middle of the night with just a bit of a chill. When I pulled the blankets up to my chin, I returned to sleep, and that ended that.

All this tomfoolery reminds me of the Israelites traversing the Arabian desert, as related in Numbers 21:5-9, incessantly whining and complaining to God and Moses about the food and lack of water. Apparently, they did not have a Subway, Taco Bell or McDonalds right around the corner. Much to their chagrin, God responded to their ingratitude by sending a plague of fiery serpents among them, which bit many of them fatally. But when the people repented, they pleaded with Moses to pray to the Lord for relief. Then God instructed Moses to fashion a serpent of brass and erect it atop a pole, or cross, so that whosoever should gaze upon the serpent would live. Just like today, God has blessed us with a way out of this dreaded pestilence.

However, if the “anti-vaxxers” among us choose not to look upon the serpent or receive the vaccine, they will surely suffer the terrible consequences. According to the Alaska state epidemiologist Dr. Joe McLaughlin, “Unvaccinated people are 15 times more likely to need to be hospitalized with the virus.” From my personal observations, if you do not get vaccinated, you will eventually get sick from Covid, since even more virulent and deadly strains than the delta variant loom just over the horizon.

Over 900 years later, the faithful king Hezekiah finally broke the brass serpent of Moses in pieces (2 Kings 18:4) because it had sadly become an object of idolatrous worship. However, most theologians agree that the serpent on a cross typified or represented Christ. Jesus Himself claimed (John 3:14), “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”

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