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.
A great scripture for today….
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
And you thought you were the only one who appreciated Psalm 1. Turns out the Old Testament prophets read the Psalms too.
The Lord appreciates steadfastness and treasures those who remain true when everything around them is turning loose, dropping out, or wilting.
This too shall pass, Christian. Be faithful.
Pastors are running around trying to find the best way to have a worship service that will involve people but not require closeness and contact. What a job!
Some churches have dusted off the old concept of drive-in churches, popularized over a half century ago, and are getting licensed-up to be able to broadcast on an FM frequency. The posts on Facebook would indicate this may be the start of a huge trend. Stay tuned.
I’ll be preaching to an empty sanctuary at Columbus Mississippi’s First Baptist Church Sunday at 10 am. The plan right now is to drive up that morning–it’s almost 3 hours each way–do the service, and then turn right around and head home. I’ll pick up a snack at a drive-through in Starkville and eat on the drive home. My sermon is not on the pandemic that is dominating our existence these days, but something better than that.
Two messages have arrived in the last few hours, telling of friends diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus. We’re kicking them to the top of our prayer list.
The headline in this morning’s Jackson, Mississippi’s Clarion-Ledger reads: “Unprecedented, uncharted waters.” True enough. But many who read those words are doubtless remembering a promise that has never been more precious: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you (Isaiah 43:2).
The full verse(and part of the next) reads: When you pass through the waters I will be with you. And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fires, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I type those words–and posted them earlier on Facebook–and think to myself: I am not doing this to minister to anyone; I’m writing this to myself.
I have no advice. But lots of thoughts.
One. I appreciate how we can laugh at ourselves and with one another while the world rapidly changes around us.
….when everything not nailed down is comin’ loose. As someone said about something, one time.
In 1940, when Hitler’s bombs were pummeling London, the British were suffering, frightened, and dealing with death, but they remembered to laugh. A bombed out restaurant or store would post a sign out front the next day saying, “Yes, we’re open.” Google “World War Two jokes” and you’ll find a thousand.
My favorite funny of this week was the guy who said, “I have washed my hands so much I’ve now uncovered the answers to the ninth grade math quiz.”
A friend sent a photo of the bathroom tissue holder, showing each segment of paper labeled Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…. The caption read: “Problem Solved.” The background to this, of course, is the way people were stocking up on toilet paper, an odd happening but no one has ever been able to figure out why people do what they do. A friend in South Louisiana said they’re cleaning the groceries out of bottled water. “Even if we all get the virus,” he said, “our water should be fine. So, what’s with everyone buying water?” I suspect it’s because that’s what they do when a hurricane is threatening.