The Sunday Lesson
Most Sundays, I publish the Sunday Lesson. It’s an observation or an idea or a study I’m working on where I see useful applications. I feel deeply blessed and deeply responsible for writing this. I schedule the posts to publish at 1:35 Eastern after you’re home from church. Or, if your memory works like mine, you can sign up for a notification to be alerted when I post something. I’m game for all comments and try to respond to them all. Be forewarned that I reserve Sundays for my family. It’s a work in progress, but a goal we’re growing into. So, if I don’t respond, I’m playing chess with my daughter or watching lousy TV with my wife. On an outstanding day, I might catch a couple of innings of Braves baseball. With my wife, of course. It’s Sunday.
Note: I wrote this at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, and it still applies. In case you’re wondering, just about everything regarding G and faith and right-doing still and always apply. Selah.
COVID and history
I don’t need to say it, but I will: COVID kicked everything to pieces. Many still wear masks, and we schedule around coworkers who are sick or taking care of loved ones. People bicker like children about freedom, and why President Trump doesn’t wear a mask, and why we can’t toss down a few beers at the local restaurant with a dozen friends, all sitting on each other’s laps. We can’t go to stores as we choose, and I haven’t been to a bookstore in months, forcing me to read what I fell in love with during my previous fourteen forays there. My wife went to our doctor a couple of weeks ago, and they required a COVID test before scheduling a time. In short, – at least in America – it’s almost as if we’re not G’s chosen people, able to do whatever we damn well feel like doing, whenever we feel like it. A lot of us mimic petulant four-year-olds, demanding what we want.
That said, I’m reading through the Bible in chronological order now, using the Blue Letter Bible site’s Daily Bible Reading Program: Chronological Plan. It’s fun experience to read the Psalms and minor books alongside the backbone books of the Hebrew Scriptures.
I read a Psalm today, and the brief passage applied directly to me. As they often do.
I complained to a coworker yesterday, and he agreed he is ready for COVID to go home so we can get back to normal living. He’s in the same susceptible demographic as I am, and we did a poor job comforting each other.
“Only a year to go,” I guessed.
“Hmm. Hope so,” he sighed. (Note: we were wrong.)
Then I read this from the Psalms this morning:
Bad news holds no fears for him,
Firm is his heart, trusting in Yahweh.
His heart holds steady, he has no fears,
Till he can gloat over his enemies.
Strong words from a man who often wept and prayed for protection from his enemies and sons.
But it’s is a verse to take home, to tattoo on the inside of your wrist. Bad news holds no fears for him. Let’s be honest here: this in no way guarantees a winning lotto ticket, or a safe ride home on bald tires in the snow, or a negative cancer test. Nothing in the verse promises that G protects you against any of the thousands of pieces of bad news we can hear. It’s simply an observation that, for the person whose heart is set firmly on trusting the Father, there is no fear in bad news because we know who holds the ultimate keys to history, both personal and corporate.
It’s easy: trust in G as the author of your ultimate history. As easy as that sounds, it’s contrary to our nature and enormously difficult. Still, it’s a worthy goal to pray about, ponder, and to grab hold of in whatever measure you can. I ask for a bigger scoop every day. Be careful about what you ask for, though; learning and maturity come through struggle. Remember the words of Jesus: “Every branch that does not bear fruit, He prunes to make it bear even more.” We enjoy the fruit but shirk from the pruning. Let’s fall in love with the pruning.
As a not-very-satisfying explanation, I go to a few churches: a Southern Baptist church that my wife and I call home, my local rock and roll multi-site church, and a Catholic church. I will read just about anything. Even some of the so-called atheists. For Bibles, I primarily use The Jerusalem Bible, the English Standard Version, and the Amplified Bible. My newest favorite is The Message. Get yourself a copy if you can. If you need one, send me an email. A favorite verse is Micah 6:8, where the prophet says:
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor. Be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously.
Blessings to you