Dear FPCSA Family & Friends,
The other night I was talking to my girlfriend, Sofía, when she off-handedly said, “The idea of quarantine is a Biblical concept.”
I responded with the height of intellect: “Huh?!?” I’ve studied the Hebrew and I’ve studied the Greek. I don’t remember seeing the word “quarantine” anywhere.
She explained, “The Spanish word for quarantine is cuarentena, which comes from the Spanish word for forty: cuarenta. And forty is an important number in the Bible. No?”
I continued to display of Biblical scholarship. “Well, yeah… kind of.”
After we signed off our video-chat, I ended up staying awake until about 2:30 in the morning thinking about this and praying about it. Thanks a lot, Sofía!
I first checked the etymology dictionary. Similar to Spanish, the Italian word for quarantine comes from quaranta, which means forty; the Italian word, quarantina, literally means, “forty days.” So, the idea of quarantine is a Biblical one. It comes from the moments in our Judeo-Christian tradition that highlight times of transition and transformation marked by 40 days.
I stayed up half the night putting together our next sermon series: “QUARANTINE: 40 DAYS TO TRANSFORMATION.” Beginning this Sunday, April 26th, we’ll look at the Biblical examples of when 40 days are used to describe times of transition and we’ll ask what we can learn and apply to our current situation. For some, this quarantine is incredibly difficult; for others, it’s a nice break. Whatever it might be, may it be an opportunity for growth, for renewal, and for transformation.
Here’s a first draft of what the messages will be (these titles and dates are not set in stone, btw):
4/26 Elijah: 40 Days to Hear the Voice of God
How are you using your quarantine time to listen for God’s voice?
5/3 Moses: 40 Days to Intimacy with God
How are you using the quarantine time to grow closer to God?
5/10 Jonah: 40 Days to Repentance
What areas of your life do you need to let go and turn away from?
5/17 Jesus: 40 Days to Receive Power
What temptations do you need to overcome in order to unleash God’s power in your life?
5/24 David: 40 Days to the Defeat a Giant
What giants are threatening God’s purpose for you?
5/31 The Apostles: 40 Days to Prepare to Reach the World
How is God preparing you to go into the world to serve Him?
6/07 Noah: 40 Days to a Fresh Start
In Christ’s Love & Service,
Rev. Dr. Lance E. Allen, D. MinFirst Presbyterian Church Santa Ana