In times like these, remember this. Jesus loves you. The shifting sands of State-mandated edicts change with the wind, but know this. Jesus loves you. Yes, there are matters of great import facing heads of state all over the world, with vast networks of disinformation, as well as disparate and wild conspiracy theories. Jesus loves you. Someone shared with us a 9 minute video of a pastor warning his listeners that God told him to tell other to not take the Coronavirus vaccine, “Because the Coronavirus is in the vaccine.” I asked her for the pastor’s name, because I would like to call him and tell him what most of the rest of the world knows: “Uh, brother, you may want to rethink your message. There IS NO VACCINE just yet. You are getting ahead of yourself.” His theory extended to the “fact” that 200 US Generals decided to start a world-wide revolution after 911. Apparently, according to this conspiracy-mongering pastor, what we are facing with COVID-19, is the result of 19 years of planning for a revolution by 200 US generals. Gnostic “secret” teaching is still alive and well in modernity.
Jesus loves you. I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother. Oh church, put your trust in the Lord.
As we face the days ahead, let us ask God for the grace to walk in humility. Psalm 131 has inspired me not to “concern myself with things too great for me.” I find some items in the news really weird. Things like “Wait, Russia has 149 million people and only 300 confirmed cases of coronavirus, yet a recent spike in “pneumonia-related deaths”? Rich, you have enough to deal with in your zip code, your church, and your family. Pray for Russia, but you are not in a position to expose that disinformation.” Or things like “Wait, China is where COVID-19 started. They have 1.4 billion people, and last Wednesday they had “no reported cases that day.” In all of China, no more COVID-19. I don’t believe it.” Pray for China, Rich, but you are not in a position to expose that disinformation. Jesus said “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” I should certainly pray for Iran, for Italy, for China, for Russia, for Bangladesh (our friend Bethanie Burkholder posted about Bangladesh), our US leaders, our governor, our mayor, etc. But there is only so much emotional energy and time that we have in the day, so I cannot concern myself with things too great for me.
I need to, by God’s grace, calm and quiet my soul, like a weaned child with its mother. A calm soul can minister out of a loving, humble heart. Saturday an out-of-state friend called and asked if we could take food to a friend in the Bronx who is recently out of his job and doesn’t have food. So I took over a bag of food that Sandy prepared, and that new friend joined us for church through Zoom videoconference on Sunday, also inviting his 83 year old friend from Virginia who has been a spiritual father to him. That was neat. During our Zoom meeting, a neighbor joined in and participated throughout the video conference. We have known her for over a year, and this is the first time she attended a Sunday service. She’s out of work as of last week. We were able to bring her something last night. Our church has suspended receiving offerings for the past two weeks, and I asked the congregation to ask God to show them as households how to give to others during these times. For now, the Believers in Jesus Church offering basket could be the neighbor’s mailbox, the homeless person’s hand, the brother in the church whose job options just changed in the past two weeks, or anyone else who has a need.
In times like these, remember. Jesus loves you. Oh church, put your trust in the Lord.
We have opportunity to rise up and work for the Kingdom, at least as prayer warriors, in times like these!
Psalm 131… My heart is not proud. My eyes are not haughty. I do not concern myself with things to great for me. I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child. Oh Israel, put your trust in the Lord. (Oh church, put your trust in the Lord.)
Son of the Father, husband to Sandy, father of six amazing gifts, Bronx brother, active participant in Believers in Jesus Church, insurance adjuster, occasional runner