2020-03-03 - Grocery Store Ponderings
I went to the grocery store today, to get some prescriptions filled. The parking lot was as full as I'd expect it to be on the day before Thanksgiving. I had to wait for one to be finished up, so I walked around the store. And I looked. I didn't need anything, so I just looked. First of all, I noticed every register was open, and there were long lines at each of them. The place was full of people, and the shelves were nearly empty.
My first thoughts were, "Toilet paper? Onions? Eggs? Why are these the empty areas?" The shelves were picked clean - but there was plenty of something else there, though. It was thick in the air. Fear filled every aisle.
I have heard the media. I have seen the state and federal level press conferences. I have read the facts. The COVID-19 is a viral pandemic. Precautions must be taken.
People want answers. They need hope. In times of crisis, people often turn to the church for help in those really difficult times. Many of us can remember after 9/11, the surge of people who came into our sanctuaries seeking answers - looking for hope.
As Christians, we have the answers. It's not that we have a cure or vaccine for this virus, but we do have faith. And faith allows us to see beyond the panic, beyond the fear, beyond the toilet paper shortages, beyond the virus.
As A.W. Tozer put it, "Fear causes me to look around at my circumstances instead of up at the smiling face of God." Faith allows us to see the hope of Easter. Death, where is thy victory? Grave, where is thy sting? (1 Corinthians 15:55). Corona has no real power. Yes, we have the answers people are looking for. But this time is different; this time, they're not going to be pouring into our churches on Sunday. They fear being in a crowd.
So we must take that hope to them. So don't Balthazar the crazies stocking up on all manner of paper products. Don't tell them is all just sensationalized media coverage. Don't argue the facts or politicized the problems on social media. Let them know that you understand their fear. But let them know that there is hope. Again quoting A.W. Tozer, "A scared world needs a fearless church. "Go with a sound mind, go in the power of the name of Jesus, go and give a lost world hope. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Show them faith. Offer them hope. Give them love. Church - true followers of Jesus Christ - the world needs you now and in the days ahead. Go!
Father help us to both love you and understand you, while at the same time having a very real and reverent fear for you. In Christ‘s name, Amen.