Good News! by Jeff Low

An encouraging word from the Shepherding Team

I think it’s time for some good news, don’t you?  I bet you have had your fill of the headlines crammed full of depressing statistics, talk of flattening curves, social distancing and long lines at the grocery store.  Maybe you have lost your job or you are working extra hours, maybe you are trying to balance work, taking care of your kids, and helping them with distance learning.  It’s all a bit overwhelming at times, isn’t it?

We need help.  We need a lifeline.  We need good news!  We need God!  That’s where we come in.  We are God’s little helpers.  “We,” are the Shepherding Team and as the leaders of the church we are here to encourage you, to lift your head, to bring you a cool glass of water in these thirsty times.  We will be taking turns posting encouraging words so look to the Sunset Ministry website and facebook page for good news that will hopefully make your day a bit brighter.

The New Normal

“. . .  love your neighbor as yourself.”

Mark 12:31

I go for a daily walk in our neighborhood.  There is a protocol for walking.  If two people come towards one another, one of us crosses to the other side of the street.  If there is someone there, then one of us will step off the sidewalk into the street, traffic permitting.  In a pinch, I will step into a driveway.  Sometimes it can get complicated.  I was walking one day heading downhill.  A lady and her dog were coming up towards me.  Trouble! Dog walkers don’t move at a predictable pace.  Their dogs dart around and sometimes stop to . . .  you know.  Crossing the street was not an option as cars were passing at a good clip.  Worse yet, there was a bicyclist biking up the hill.  Stepping into the street wouldn’t work unless the timing was right.  Was the bicyclist going to pass the dog walker?  If so, I could step into the street after the bicyclist passed me so that I could then pass the dog walker.  No driveway to turn into, rats!  We were all trying to make the necessary physics calculations.  Could we pass one another safely?  Tough one to call as the bicyclist was really struggling up the hill and besides, I only got a C in physics.  Time was running out.  Just when I thought we were doomed, the unthinkable happened!  The dog walker stopped, turned around and retraced her steps down the hill.  Ok, so maybe it was “thinkable”, I just didn’t think of it.  I thought to myself, is this how it’s going to be?  I’ve got to bone up on physics just so I can take a walk in the neighborhood?  Is this part of the “new normal?”

Grocery shopping has become an adventure.  Sometimes there are long lines of people waiting outside as stores are limiting the number of people in there at one time.  The aisles are one way to avoid people coming face to face.  It’s feast or famine when it comes to the meat case and produce.  Toilet paper is being doled out sparingly.  Folks will ask the grocery clerk when the next delivery truck is scheduled and what will be on it.  The grocery clerks say they don’t know when the truck will arrive nor what’s on it.  Does that sound suspicious to you?  Don’t they know what they are ordering?  At the distribution centers are they loading their trucks with whatever?  We have lots of canned pumpkins from last October.  Let’s send it to that store, woohoo!  Makes you wonder if the grocery clerks are saving the best stuff for themselves.  Are they the ones hoarding the toilet paper?!  Being suspicious of our fellow man and hoarding, is that the new normal?

I was thinking about the new normal and began wondering what God thought of all this.  I kept coming back to Mark 12:31, “to love you neighbor as yourself.”  Slowly, it dawned on me that God was saying that while our circumstances may change, what is expected of us does not.  God charges us to love one another, not just in non-Covid-19 times, but in all times.  Loving one’s neighbor in this day and age?  We are all being pushed by circumstances to take care of me and mine.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with looking out for one’s self and one’s family.  We start going down the wrong path when that becomes our sole focus.  

Fortunately, we have people setting some good examples for us:  first responders who put their lives on the line, working 12 hour shifts or more, segregating themselves in some instances from their own families so that they can continue to work; those folks who are making masks at home and donating them to hospitals and nursing homes; those of you donating to the church’s Covid-19 fund and other funds to assist with relief efforts.  I think too of members of our church dropping off groceries to our neighbors and church family.  I’m sure you know of many more examples.  Share those examples with others and with me.  Better yet, be an example!

The new normal at least as to God’s call for us, is not so new.  His call has always been for us to love His people with the same love He has for you and for me.

Let me end with a couple of suggestions to brighten your day:

  • Not getting enough exercise?  Borrow your kid’s Nintendo Switch or other game console and run their dance game.  I danced with my son Timmy to something called Con Calma and after three minutes, I was ready to pass out.  Great cardio work out.  It will improve you disposition . . . once you have regained consciousness. 
  • The Show Must Go On – Andrew Lloyd Webber is making his musicals available on YouTube every weekend.  It’s free, but they are taking donations for Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).  Phantom of the Opera – 25th Anniversary was on a few weeks ago.  Cats is on this weekend 5/15 – 5/17/2020.

Thanks for your attention!  Remember to check for another posting by the Shepherding Team next week.  It will be someone else’s turn, I promise. 

Jeff Low