Say What…?

20200315_155307 © jb katke

“I think the best thing is for you is to not go to church.”

My words. Never would my children, or even I, imagine me saying that.

My youngest was checking in on me. I have just gotten over the flu. A ‘normal’ flu that left me feeling like I had been hit by a truck. Several times. Naomi was still battling a cough that doesn’t want to quit.

I told her our church was taking a time out for two weeks, conducting services online only. She wished her church was doing that, hence my above statement.

What has come over me? For that matter, what has come over our country? Answer: Corona Virus. AKA COVID-19.

The pandemic has overtaken not just the world, but our senses. A couple days ago my husband and I did our grocery shopping. Some of the shelves were bare, reminding me of third world countries I have visited. The top selling product first to run out? Toilet paper.

As much as I hate to admit it, we were among the maddening crowd. It becomes a survival of the fittest mindset. Inconvenience is not widely accepted in this country.

Hunkering down is another new concept. Also not warmly received.

But as I have scanned through the Bible, I have seen this isn’t a new thing. Famines and plagues have been going on and off for centuries. Read this for a mind-boggler:

What has been, will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV

So it’s just us and an unfamiliar experience. Very much like waking up to the realization that I’m a senior citizen.

Opportunist that I am, it has been a life mission of mine to offer spiritual encouragement to anyone who will listen. Many life questions are addressed in a church setting. Good news can be heard there that generally is not broadcast outside the doors of Jesus’ house.

There is a fine line between encouraging and harping. No doubt I have crossed that invisible line on more than one occasion. It’s not that I know so much, I just know where to turn for answers. It takes time, patience, and an open heart that wants to know.

This week I attended church in my family room. It was a timely message. I’ll be there next week too, join me won’t you?

journeybible.org

Salvation Army

SA Bucket

Many a Christmas season I refused to donate to the Salvation Army cause. But my heart had been touched as I gave it more thought. Both physical and spiritual help is offered year round to the less fortunate.

“Oh no, I didn’t mean to do that!”

I came unglued. What was I going to do now?

About to enter the grocery store, I scooped up all the loose change in my purse and deposited it into the red Salvation Army bucket. I watched helplessly as the coins fell in, along with my husband’s wedding ring.

A couple volunteers stood at the post ringing their bell.

The man spoke up. “That was really generous of you.”

“No it’s not, I’m not generous at all.”

I learned the couple belonged to each other, but neither of them had the key that belonged to the bucket. Sensing my anguish, the man pulled out his cell phone placing a call to his supervisor. There was nothing he could do to help me either.

The husband handed me his business card, in case I should need him. He was a lawyer.

I wagged my finger at him. “You better be honest, because I have your number now.” I can’t believe I said that. Clearly I must stop watching so much TV.

I was cold and in a hurry.

I had just left my husband’s bedside. He was still hospitalized recovering from his fourth back surgery. The wedding band was put in my change purse for safe keeping. Yeah, right.

Eventually I was given a phone number I could call to retrieve the ring. The office of the Salvation Army was alerted to my error and were on the lookout for it. I was told it was found and waiting for me to pick it up.

It was one for the memory books.

That was several years ago, but it still brings up a vivid holiday memory. Today, I smile at it, not so at the time.

The following year, I again deposited some change in the red bucket. “You’re not getting any wedding rings this year.”

The young man’s bell stopped mid ring,  “That was you?”

A change of heart

The Salvation Army folk are a good group of people that make a positive difference in lives. Who couldn’t use a little encouragement now and then?