Monday Musings for 3.16.20

 

Dear Friends,

Not many in church yesterday.  And next week will be worse.  Worship is canceled at Nampa First UMC on Sunday, March 22.  All three services. We want to do everything we can, in compliance with the wisdom of medical experts, to get this coronavirus (COVID-19) under control.

I heard someone on the radio say, “As it says in the Bible, ‘This too shall pass.’ ”  Well, I guess I’m supposed to know what is and isn’t in the Bible.  I was pretty sure that wasn’t.  It is actually an old Persian saying.  Whatever the origin, it is a good and timely saying for what we are in the middle of right now.  “This too shall pass.”

When we find ourselves in unpleasant situations, there is a natural tendency to think it will last forever.  We hear that phrase, “new normal.”  It feels that way.  In the short term, it is that way.  And sometimes the “short term” lasts a long time.  But eventually, difficult things have a way of resolving themselves.  When you have lived a few years, you have seen this pattern often enough that you learn to recognize it.  That helps in a case like this.

Our ancestors lived through times far worse than this. Well actually, they didn’t all live.  Heather Sourgen sent me this that Martin Luther wrote during the bubonic plague:

I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person, but will go freely.

And here is what C.S. Lewis wrote in the 1940’s:

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

And while we are waiting for “this too” to pass, as I said yesterday, kindness can also go viral.  Call someone who might appreciate hearing from you.  Stay in touch with those who are scared.  Offer to go buy groceries.  Even toilet paper??  It’s when our faith is tested that our faith shines brightest.

Though we won’t have worship this Sunday, feel free to reach out to me.  208 409 3822.  Especially in this time of “social distancing” social interactions are so important.

In Christ,

 

John