On a bench just inside our front door is a small basket with a piece of paper lying on it upon which Marti has written in her beautiful flowing cursive, “A Friendly Reminder.” It’s hard to believe that this basket, and its accompanying sign, has been there for a full year now. The friendly reminder has to do with what is in the basket — two or three masks, sanitizer wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer. It’s a reminder that we are in a pandemic, and there are things we have to take care of. Hand washing, sanitizing, wearing a mask whenever we go out — these are the things we have to remember.
When Marti first put the basket out a year ago, I wondered if it was necessary. How did you know? We were fighting an invisible enemy. I remember when we were wiping down everything that I brought home from the grocery store. But suddenly hundreds, then thousands, then eventually hundreds of thousands were dying. Some people were calling it a hoax, but my daughter, who is an E.R. doctor in Hawaii, told me to send any doubters her way with their hospital filling up with patients and scores of chest X-rays that don’t lie.
Now with vaccine rates going up and rates of infection going down, there’s a false sense of thinking this is over and we can get back to normal, but not so fast. It’s going to take a long time. Even after the disease is gone, the effects will linger. The loneliness and the anxiety are not about to be gone overnight. The confusion and distrust of authorities. The knowledge that it could happen again. The creation of new strains that are immune to the vaccine. How long do we leave the basket out by our front door? How long will we have to be reminded?
Here’s a friendly reminder: It’s a scary, messy world out there every time you walk out your front door. And it’s going to stay that way. These changes are permanent. If it’s not this, there will be something else that will threaten us. We are in the last days. These are the days that Jesus spoke about when He said that unless they are cut short, there will be no one saved. So take whatever precaution is suggested, but don’t be ruled by fear. Let love rule your heart and realize you have a hope no one can take away. And realize why you are here. You are here so you can introduce everyone you meet to the gospel of welcome — grace turned outward. You are here to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. We will be the calmest people on the face of the earth.
This is Easter week and we are celebrating the Great Exchange. On the cross, Jesus exchanged His life for ours. He took upon Himself all the uncertainty, the lies, the hurtful attitudes, the sin and the suffering and disease of our human existence, and gave us His life in return. What a contrast! And what a difference we will make with Christ in us!
All those things that frighten us about the world, Jesus has already borne it all on the cross. Even the pain and suffering we are yet to experience is nothing compared to the glory we will share with Him in heaven. We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us.
So this is your friendly reminder as you step out the door today. Go in the grace and power of the Lord Jesus Christ — the risen one!
I think I’m leaving the basket out indefinitely.
PLEASE JOIN US ON-LINE FOR HOLY WEEK AND EASTER SERVICES
Maundy Wednesday, March 31
(Yes, you read that right. We’re doing Maundy Thursday on Wednesday because Wednesday is when we are in the habit of meeting anyway.)
6:00 p.m. PDT
Come prepared to share Communion together
Teaching by Dave Kelley, John Shirk and John Fischer
Music: “Communion Song (Take this Bread)” – Barry McGuire
Good Friday, April 2
12:00 p.m. PDT www.Facebook.com/thecatch
Music: “Tetelastai” – Paul Clark
Focus: John Fischer
Easter Sunday, April 4
6:00 p.m. PDT www.Facebook.com/thecatch