Sunday morning during my nearly three-hour drive up to Columbus, Mississippi (where I preached for the 10 am service at First Baptist, to a near-empty sanctuary), I listened to the BBC’s World News Service. Some scientists were talking about–what else?–but the pandemic that has taken the world by the throat.
“We knew this was coming,” said one scientist. “But we did not know what form it would take, so there was no way to be prepared.” Another said, “And there will be others after this one.” We hope–and pray–that the scientific community, the health leadership, and political leaders worldwide will have learned what to do and what not to do.
It reminds me of what a tour-guide in Naples, Italy told us.
As we journeyed up the coastal highway to the ruins of Pompeii, the young lady spoke about the danger of Vesuvius erupting once more. “It will happen,” she said, “and everyone knows it.” So, is Naples (and the Napolitans) prepared? She told us they tried to have a preparedness drill on one occasion, practicing evacuation and everything. “It was mass confusion,” she said. “Finally, they threw up their hands and said we’ll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it.”
That is what the world decided to do with the pandemic. And now it’s here and countries are going crazy trying to decide what to do. Help us, Lord.
Monday, I determined I would try to stay in all week. As elementary as that sounds, considering the circumstances and the large areas where mandatory lockdowns are occurring, it still feels burdensome in some ways. I sometimes walk around feeling I’m not accomplishing anything since I’ve not been away from the house.
So, then the question becomes: What am I accomplishing?
Or, to put it another way–as I have been asked–How do I spend my day?
My day today included the following activities….
–I walked the dog four times.
–I read the Clarion-Ledger and worked a couple of the puzzles.
–I was online several times, answering emails and messages, posting thoughts and scriptures.
–I counseled a person or two who texted with a question or problem.
–I read the first three chapters of First Corinthians. Sunday, I asked our congregation at FBC Columbus MS–where I preached to an empty sanctuary–to live in these three chapters from now until Easter, which is in three weeks. I’m trying to keep my own counsel here. Those chapters are rich with insights and teaching.
–I was online with the editor of one of our state Baptist weeklies, who needed me to do two drawings for her. I did them to her satisfaction, photographed them and sent, then bundled up the paper copies and put in the mail to her.
–I read parts of two books. Every Drop of Blood deals with Abraham Lincoln’s second inauguration ceremony and is so well worth reading. Whiskey River is a western by Ralph Compton and mostly bubble gum for the brain.
–I finished a jigsaw puzzle. Jan Van Haasteren is the Dutch cartoonist who has an amazing collection of thousand-piece jigsaws that are wonderful in every way. This one was hard and took weeks. The good news is I have another 1,000 pc waiting.
–I watched a little television. Nothing important.
–And I took an afternoon nap.
Such a hard life. I may have left out a few things, but this pretty much covers it. I started to work on a sermon, but decided Monday is no day for that. My next sermon is not for two weeks, on April 5 when I’m scheduled to return to Columbus and preach again.
Originally, we had a family celebration scheduled for this coming Friday-Saturday-Sunday. I hit the magic number of 80 on Saturday, and my children had engaged a local church auditorium and were driving in from near and far. They wisely called it off last week, however, and sent notices to everyone. I told them I guess I’ll just have to eat all that cake and ice cream myself.
Sometimes, with the COVID-19 mess going on, I feel like a character in the L’il Abner comic strip, some guy with an unpronounceable name who went around with a storm cloud just over his head. It feels that way. We’re all ready for some good news.
I know the best news there is–God is love and He’s made eternal plans for us through Christ–but I’d sure like some news about the conquest of this virus and the restoration of normalcy. Help us, Father.