He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty
As the fluid situation of all of our lives continues to swirl, the post I had hoped to
write today…a post about looking back at how we Americans have overcome past crises
is now on hold.
We’ve been called into a bit of action—for we are off to fetch the Mayor today
with the Sherrif following in a few more days.
With the schools now shuttering in Georgia, our daughter-in-law the teacher
will find herself at home. She will be home with two little ones, along with
a husband (our son) who is already working from home.
And as a teacher, she will be responsible for conducting virtual learning classes
so in turn, they will need help with the kids….so…
the kids will be coming to us.
For how long is yet to be determined.
Therefore, any blogging will be sporadic.
The Mayor tends to demand a great deal of her staff’s time and energies.
And as a governing official, she has her hands full…as we all do.
But before I leave you, I wanted to offer you some lovely words of hope.
The following message…a message of hope in the face of global adversity,
is from our dear friend The Wee Flea, David Robertson.
Living now in Australia but with family still in Scotland as well as England,
David understands first hand the fretfulness we are all feeling during these
times of uncertainty as well as times of fear…
How do we as Christians respond?
My wish is that you will find comfort in the following words…
the link to the full post is found at the end…
Be blessed, stay well and be safe…
One of my greatest concerns is that the Church far more often reflects the society
than it does lead or love it.
This pandemic is a real test for the reality of our faith and the relevance of our doctrines.
And there is no doubt that our world is being taught some real lessons –
lessons the Christian should, if we believe the Bible, already know.
We are being taught humility.
Fintan O ‘Toole had a marvelous article in The Irish Times pointing out that we are not
kings of the world and we are not masters of our own fate.
It’s a hard lesson to learn. And one that humanity, in our hubris,
has to keep being taught.
We have a lot to learn from history –
not least because we keep forgetting it.
Plague and disease are not new to humanity.
When we look at how the Church in the past has dealt with plague –
whether in ancient Rome, medieval Europe, 19th century London or numerous other examples
we can get a better perspective.
My predecessor in St Peter’s Dundee, Robert Murray McCheyne died aged 29 after he visited
the sick and dying in an epidemic among the poor in the city.
The Church today seems to be more concerned about not getting sick, rather than visiting the sick.
I love this Hebrew word.
I don’t really know an exact English equivalent.
It’s what Solomon uses in Ecclesiastes when he describes everything as ‘meaningless’ or ‘vanity’.
It carries the idea of trivial froth.
The coronavirus is exposing our societies’ Hebel.
Sport, wealth, leisure, entertainment –
how light and frothy they appear to be in the light of such a foe!
I was in a barber’s in Sydney yesterday where my fellow clientele would normally have been
outraged at the cancelling of the major sporting events which play such
a large part in our lives, but there was general agreement that it didn’t really matter.
(I loved the sign above the door – “if you’re sick you need a doctor, not a barber!”).
That is the great missing thing.
Real hope has to be more than the wish that this would soon be over and that we could carry on
with life as normal. This virus has exposed the shallowness of that approach to life.
Where do we find hope?
As always I find it in the word of God.
Let me share with you three readings from this morning.
Proverbs 1:20-33 warns us of what happens when we neglect the wisdom that is calling aloud
“in the public square”.
There will be calamity and “disaster that sweeps over you like a whirlwind”.
The waywardness of the simple and the complacency of fools destroys them but
“whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm”.
Then there are the great words of Psalm 91 –
a Psalm that sustained me when I lay on my bed in the ICU unit in Ninewells hospital,
helpless and fearful.
We can rest in the ‘Shadow of the Almighty’ (rather than the shadow of death).
We are covered by his feathers, and his faithfulness is our shield and rampart.
“You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday” (v.5-6).
Finally, my song for this morning was Psalm 139 where,
amongst other things, we are assured that all the days ordained for us were written in the
Lord’s book before they came to be. These verses surely speak to our situation.
Are we listening?
Or are we listening to the voices of doom both within our fearful selves
and our frightened society?
Listening to what God says is not burying our head in the sand;
it is allowing the light to expose our darkness and to point us to a greater and better truth –
to The Rock that is higher than us.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
my anxious thoughts survey.
Show me what gives offence to you,
And lead me in your way”
(Psalm 139:23-24 – Sing Psalms – The Free Church of Scotland)