If you’ve not been watching John Krasinski’s Some Good News YouTube show, let me encourage you to start today. Past episodes have featured a hilarious interview with Steve Carell (of course) and a performance by the Hamilton cast from their homes. To thank a group of frontline medical personnel in Boston, he arranged an experience I won’t give away here but that is worth watching with gratitude.
Now Krasinski has done something memorable for high school seniors: he hosted a virtual senior prom and was the DJ as well. He was joined by Chance the Rapper, Billie Eilish, and the Jonas Brothers. High school seniors and their families across the country were able to participate in a variety of ways.
On the other end of the generational spectrum, Captain Tom Moore is a ninety-nine-year-old British World War II veteran. He broke his hip and must use a walker with wheels for mobility. Did this stop him from doing what he can to combat the pandemic? Not at all.
He set a goal of walking the twenty-five meters around his garden one hundred times before his one-hundredth birthday on April 30. He completed his task last Thursday. In so doing, he raised more than $31 million for the British health service.
When a new field hospital opens in response to the coronavirus outbreak next week, the retired army officer will be the guest of honor. Capt. Moore said in a statement over the weekend, “I am still amazed by the amount of kindness and generosity from the UK public who continue to give despite it being an uncertain time for many.”
Reframing in the light of God’s sovereignty
Tragedies always make us feel frustrated that we cannot do more to help. A gunman in Nova Scotia killed at least sixteen people over the weekend. A man hijacked a public transit bus in Dallas yesterday and wounded two officers. We can read the news and pray for the victims, but we want to do more.
In the same way, one of our frustrations with social distancing is that it feels so hard to help those in need. We cannot visit senior adults isolated in nursing homes, many of whom do not have the technological means to FaceTime or text with us. It’s hard to volunteer at food banks or rescue missions when we’re not allowed out of our homes.
But Christians must not let these restrictions become excuses. Instead, we who believe in the sovereignty of God must believe that he has ways to redeem these challenges for his glory and our good.
Joseph was given dreams of ascendancy in Canaan, but it took slavery and prison to elevate him to a position where he could fulfill God’s vision for the good of the world. Moses was called to lead his people out of slavery, but it took ten plagues in Egypt to liberate them and a miracle at the Red Sea to defeat their enemy. Joshua faced a flooded Jordan River into which his people had to step by faith before they could cross into their Promised Land.
Peter and his colleagues had to leave their fishing business to fish for men. Paul had to risk rejection and worse by his Jewish culture to preach the gospel to them. John’s exile on Patmos led to receiving the Revelation.
And most of all, of course, Jesus’ horrific crucifixion led to his resurrection and the promise of eternal life for all who trust in him.
A gift I hope you’ll give
Now our Lord wants to lead us into ways of serving that did not exist before the pandemic began.
Like millions of others, my wife and I are picking up groceries at stores without entering them and having more goods delivered to our home than ever before. As so many people have been serving us in these ways, Janet wanted to find a way to thank them and share God’s word with them.
So, she designed a simple flyer that expresses gratitude for their service while offering them the hope of God’s love. She folds it in two and places a generous tip inside. Then, when anyone helps us in these days, she gives them her gift.
She has made her flyer available on her website and through her blog, and we are already hearing wonderful stories of people who are using it to share God’s love and their compassion. I hope you’ll download and print it, then give it with a generous tip to those who serve you in these days and beyond.
This is one way to “plant trees we’ll never sit under,” as Alfred North Whitehead noted.
Social distancing and social media
Jesus called us to sow the “seed” of his word, knowing that we cannot know at the time those who will respond in faith and those who will not (Luke 8:4–15). Our job is to be obedient and trust the results to the Holy Spirit.
The pandemic has not made such ministry less relevant, but more. These days of unprecedented social distancing restrictions are also days of unprecedented social media opportunities. We have more ways than ever before to leave our homes without leaving our homes.
Churches and ministries are seeing incredible responses to their online worship services and biblical resources, demonstrating the deep hunger for hope and help in this crisis. As the body of Christ responds collectively, the people of Christ can respond individually (1 Corinthians 12:27).
“The great use of life”
William James stated: “The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” Benjamin Franklin made our point this way: “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
Would you ask the Lord to show you ways of serving that did not exist for you before the outbreak began? Why not right now?