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HOPE over fear, goodness in the turmoil



written by David Gaddy

Let’s be real.  The coronavirus has brought good and bad.  Bad...mass hysteria. People, do you really need 7,000 rolls of toilet paper and 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer?  Bad...exploitation. We knew it was coming. Someone was taking their 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and selling it for WAYYYY more than anyone would ever pay.  However, kudos to the kids at a high school that were selling squirts of sanitizer for $1 per squirt. Those kids will make millions one day haha!


Then there is the good.  People are now washing their hands WAYYYY more often!  Which makes one question their hygiene beforehand? Another good, people grouping together to provide food resources for grade school students and families who depend on their local school for meals.  May this continue far beyond the corona pandemic!


I believe there is one terrible thing happening.  I do not think it is intentionally bad, but it can stir fear and that is not what the Christian faith should be doing.  I have been seeing leaders and different posts/memes talking about and pointing to our current situation as a sign of the END TIMES!


For those of you who are not aware of Christianity, there is this final letter in the Bible, the Revelation of Jesus Christ.  It is often referred to as the book of Revelation (Revelations if you grew up in the South). It is this letter that the disciple John wrote to the Christ-followers in Rome during a very difficult and tumultuous time for these first followers.  Mind you, John was exiled to a secluded island off the coast of Italy. The letter is full of imagery, metaphor, reminders of Jewish history, a grand battle, and in the end, Jesus wins (twice).


Revelation was written to give HOPE during a time of TURMOIL.  And there are moments throughout the letter that do provide hope (Jesus beats evil once and for all AGAIN, Jesus challenges churches to continue their good work or become something better than the world needs in their time).  But then there are these images….


Revelation was written to give HOPE during a time of TURMOIL.  And there are moments throughout the letter that do provide hope (Jesus beats evil once and for all AGAIN, Jesus challenges churches to continue their good work or become something better than the world needs in their time).  But then there are these images….


These images are where the letter gets super confusing and the letter, thus, misused and mishandled.  Some of these are the four horsemen, the seven seals, scrolls, bowls, and plagues (just to name a few, there are more, trust me, I sat through a semester of this).  It is almost like you need a decoder ring from a cereal box to understand it all. Allegedly, some have figured it out. Now, because of coronavirus, it seems we are in the midst of the end times.  This is likely because of the constant conflicts with other countries (war), the locust swarms in Africa (famine), and now coronavirus worldwide (pestilence). And now we are looking for Christ to ride in on the final horse.


While I understand where these people are coming from, likely from a place of warning the masses and thus love, I think it may stir more fear than anything else.  Fear of the unknown coming of something you do not understand from the end of a book that some do not read...that may be the worst kind of fear.


Instead of stirring the pot of fear, may we as believers of The Way stir the pot of compassion.  Every generation in known history has had its share of deep struggle that makes it think of its own mortality.  However, in the midst of those moments, HOPE rises to the top. Martin Luther (leader of the Reformation of churches) in the middle of the plague said this:


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 inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as the result of my negligence...If my neighbor needs me however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. (Regarding the Black Plague)
Luther’s comments were during the BLACK PLAGUE!!!!  So, I am not telling you to go and endanger yourself.  However, I am challenging us to go from fear to HOPE in these times.  Encourage each other to find ways to help a neighbor, serve the least, donate the most, send pictures to the detained and homebound.  One of the best lines I have heard in this time is “we are in this together and we will overcome this together.” The last time we heard this was like 9/11 when the World Trade Centers fell.

So may you find ways to serve, find ways to follow The Way of Christ in these moments, promote HOPE over fear, find the goodness in the turmoil, and most of all…


WASH YOUR HANDS YOU FILTHY ANIMALS

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PO BOX 1234 | Mebane, NC 27302

A United Methodist congregation.