More Notes from The Orchard for March 2020
Know any elephants? Probably not, but we must all be aware of this one: the Elephant in the Room while we brace ourselves to face something that sounds like the Spanish flu epidemic of the post World War I. The BBC recently broadcast a documentary based on this subject, which is a bit unfortunate. Many people knew virtually nothing about this disastrous event, history being so poorly absorbed by schoolchildren it hit particularly hard when coronavirus arrived so closely on tales of the Spanish flu calamity.
Alas that it is part of the human psyche to prefer any horrific aspect, negative news or even bad news to any positive or good news – unless of course it is related to competitive sport, especially football. . .
To get back to the Elephant in the Room. . . right? Now forget him, and substitute Dinosaur in the Room, for that is where I propose we spend a little time today.
Since COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus) appeared on the scene, that much feared and tricky subject, our new Elephant, the Dinosaur, is Death. Not a subject many of us were up to now happy to consider or talk about while we live our comfortable life in the British Isles. It’s strange really, when it is so obviously ahead of us all. Prior to the arrival of Jesus Christ, there was no sure or certain way to believe that life after death really existed. The very possibility of it being true must have been one of the magnetic draws for people who heard the good news for the first time. I expect all of us who know anything about the early history of Christianity can remember tales of how quickly the numbers of those wanting to follow the new pattern of life set by Jesus swelled into thousands.
While that last sentence may be true, it can also suggest that human beings are more attracted to bad news than to good news. Even today people lap up tales of disaster and lack of hope much more readily than the good news unless it is a truly stunning piece of news. Right up to the current day we are given far more information about people dying of COVID-19 than learning about those who recover. . . very much as many of those supposedly teaching Christianity concentrate on the brimstone and fires of hell rather than the love and kindness of Jesus Christ.
Sadly we do seem to be consistent in the way we build our beliefs looking through an end of a telescope that give us a miserable and mean picture instead of a bright, light and loving one. According to Google
‘“The most often repeated commandment in the Bible is 'Do not fear.”’
(It's in there over two hundred times.)
Even if you have faith in Jesus Christ and his teachings it is sometimes very difficult to believe in that particular instruction ‘Do not fear’– so ask - ask for help! If you have a very little faith I can only suggest you read another piece of advice from the Gospels:
“…Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she answered, “I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”…” (John 11:24-27)
But there, if you don’t believe at all in Jesus Christ, all this probably seems ridiculous. This isn’t your fault – you were never taught! Jesus himself said he was here on this earth to save us and not to condemn us. Sometimes too many followers of Jesus have not given much of an example though, have they? If you tried reading the Gospels in an updated translation, looking for the optimistic and loving words of Jesus you might well change your mind. Considering the way everything seems to be going at the moment it’s definitely worth a try!
So many high-ups in the churches have put so much emphasis on sin, sin, sin which if analysed seem to be concentrated on sexual misdemeanours although certainly there are many serious, monstrous and cruel sins committed in this area. They may afford personal and passing pleasure to those who inflict any suffering but the true reason is selfishness, from whence comes all sin.
God gives us a lifetime to learn and practice His way of life, to love one another as God himself has loved us. We may have little time left where we can learn to know Jesus. Try though, and pray for belief and faith in him. If you are truly serious, God will listen to your prayer and grant you what you pray for. Then when you open your eyes for the first time on the other side of death, with his help Jesus will be there to welcome you together with those you have loved on earth.
© Katy Bell