Are We?

“You’re not at all like the wicked, who are mere windblown dust— Without defense in court, unfit company for innocent people.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭1:4-5‬ ‭MSG‬‬
https://www.bible.com/97/psa.1.4-5.msg

Okay, I want to take a look at this a minute (or maybe a few minutes). What’s God saying in this section?

• He is say that you are not liked the wicked. And then he gives some very grim explanations of what is going to happen to the wicked.

◦ Mere wind blown dust. When I was a kid growing up, we lived 4 houses away from some real good really deep farm land. When the wind blew in the wrong direction, we had to hurry up and scramble and get all of the windows closed so the “muck” didn’t blow in the house. What happens is this tiny dust? It get squeezed and blown around and it gets everywhere. On window ledges, on shelves, on tile floors, on kitchen counters, in bathrooms, on pillow cases, on computers, on phones, everywhere. This fine black annoying dust spreads everywhere and because of that texture, it is so difficult to get rid of.

◦ Without defense in court? Oliver Wendell Holmes is the first to say it, “A man who is his own attorney has a fool for a client.” In other words, if there is ever a reason for an attorney, a wise man will hire one and the wicked will say, “Nah, I can handle it.” And that’s foolish.

◦ The wicked – unfit company for the innocent people. This says two things:

‣ The wicked are unfit company for the innocent people. That’s fairly obvious. The drug dealer and the IRS cheats should not be the ones that the innocent people hang around.

‣ Not only are they unfit but the innocent are supposed to know better and avoid those type of situations where they would find themselves hanging out with the wicked.

• But now wait a minute – avoid the wicked people? Isn’t that exactly the opposite of what Jesus tells us to do? He has dinner with tax frauds and prostiutes, isn’t that the company that God says is unfit for us?

How do we reconcile those two? The ability reach out to those who need God’s help through us and the ability to at the same time not get sucked into their world of wickedness? That’s a hard one. And it’s one that we need to wrestle with more.

But as you go out into the world, whether you go out to care for the sick, or you go out to spread some cheer to families who need it, or you stay home to care for those God has placed in your care. A paraphrased edition of Pastor Darrell’s blessing…..

“God woke you up today. He didn’t have to, but he did.

“God didn’t bring you to church, but he said, “you all are my people where ever you are.”

“God sent you home. He sent you to the hospital, the delivery truck, the warehouse sorting boxes of “essentials.”

“God sent you to the research labs and the doctor’s offices. God sent you to the fire departments.

“God didn’t send you anywhere, he sent you home. Home, because there are kids who need a parent so the other parent can go be a first responder.

God woke you up today. He woke me up today. What are we going to do with that gift?

TJV

Isolation 2.06 – Pushing Back Against “More”

Day 6 of Isolation 2.0

More confusion

More frustration

More positive tests

Higher mortality rate

And what can we do?

Well, if you’re like me and don’t have a formal medical education, there’s really only four things that I know you can do:

Stay home – you’re familiar with the concept of a designated driver? At our house, we have a designated shopper. Our grocery stores offer preferred shopping hours for medical professionals (which she is) so she is our designated shopper. No one else goes shopping unless you can do it online.

Keep your distance. If you are out and around and find yourself in a place where it might not be possible to be 6 ft away at all times, wear a mask. I actually have two different styles because the one style makes my ears stick out. :-). No, I am not going to post pictures.

Support the front line people – there was a story of someone who stood outside the local hospital and held up a sign, “My heroes wear scrubs.” According to her (and my) Dr., Dr. Singer, she had a stroke and they got her in in time to save her from permanent damage.

Send donuts to your kids doctor’s office.

Have Starbucks deliver to the local pediatric floor at “your” hospital.

Reach out and talk to someone – someone lonely, someone who you haven’t talked with for a while. If everyone spent a half hour a day talking to others that would make a big difference.

There’s a lot of feelings of helplessness. I know, I feel it too. But look at some of these and ask yourself, what am I going to do?

It might be something small but it could save a life or it could be the blessing that a front line worker needs to keep going.

Try it, you’ll like it! (Hey Mikey!)

TJV

Isolation 2.05 It was more

Palm Sunday – without going to church.

Palm Sunday – with none of the normal traditions

Today was Sunday but it didn’t feel like it. Isolation 2.05 makes the normal traditions hard. But that’s okay because it isn’t really the traditions that matter.

It’s the history of this day that matters. Today marks the day that Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In less than a week, the crowds that originally cheered him will wanted to kill him. That’s what Palm Sunday remembers.

In many ways, the world has been turned upside down. Schools are closed, offices are closed, roads are empty, unemployment lines and hospitals are over crowded. Churches aren’t meeting, and those that are meeting are seeing their pastors arrested for violating executive orders by the governors of the their respective state.

And interesting thing is happening – churches are saying, “we are not a building, we are more.”

More what?

• more about people who care about their neighbors.

• More about being people who admit we don’t know and can’t do it all ourselves.

• More about people who care for people in need.

• More about people who are looking for more, not for themselves but for those who have less.

And so, while gathering as a group of believers didn’t happen in a building, all across this country, all across this world, Christians were gathering online.

And Palm Sunday was remembered.

And God saw His people gathering in new and different ways in spite of the virus.

And He was pleased.

TJV

Isolation 2.04 Routine Isn’t

It’s Saturday. It’s Saturday? No wait, it’s Fri…. No, it is Saturday.

When so much of life rotates around going to church, going to work, going to baseball games, planning graduations, did I mention going to school? Take all of those things away and it’s hard to remember what day it is. They all seem to blend together.

According to my phone, it is Saturday. This whole isolation – very little is like normal – routine is very disorienting.

Because

Routine

Isn’t

Happening.

So what do you do when the routine got thrown out the proverbial window?

Well, a couple of things I’ve learned….

…acknowledge that you don’t know it all and accept that.

…take things one day at a time.

…don’t borrow tomorrow’s troubles for today. (My wife has taught me a lot about that).

…acknowledge not only that you don’t know it all but that you don’t need to know it all right now. If you had told me where I’d be now compared to 20 years ago, I would not have believed you. So don’t worry about where you’ll be 20 years from now.

…Look for the things that can become the new routine.

And that’s a glance at Day 4 of Isolation 2.04. A Saturday where very little felt routine.

TJV