Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25
That’s a wrap. When a film crew is filming, and the job is complete they call it a wrap. The filming is over, done, finito (that’s Italian for finished…impressive huh?) Well, while the Covid virus is going to be a part of our lives for the rest of our lives, apparently it is finito. With herd immunity and all the new medicines available, its power has been dramatically reduced. If you ever saw the cartoon version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” you remember that the abominable snowman lost his bite then they pulled his teeth. So now, it seems with Covid also.
I heard the other day that our President even announced that it was done and looking around I agree. The other night my wife, Judy, and I went out to eat and we chose Cracker Barrel. Now believe it or not, this restaurant has been a pretty good judge of Covid’s impact. Of course, there was a time during Covid when it was closed, there was a time when they spaced everyone out and there were no condiments on the tables. There was a time when there were paper menus that were promptly trashed after someone touched them. And, when you walked in there might be a couple of dozen people there. But now, it seems, things have changed.
As I said, Friday night, we visited the closest Cracker Barrel. When we pulled into the parking lot, it was just about full. I told Judy, “I sure hope we don’t have to wait.” I hate waiting…especially waiting to eat. We walked in and to my surprise there wasn’t a line. The hostess asked how many, picked up a couple of menus and took us to our table. Well, here you go. The first dining room was totally full…something that I had not seen for two years. There were condiments on the tables and people were talking, laughing, and eating. The next dining room was about 70 percent full but that is where we found our table. Our hostess gave us a couple of real menus and that is when I said it, “Judy, it is normal.” So, we enjoyed a great meal and well, it all just felt good.
Normalcy. It does feel good, but the truth is somethings just aren’t. I went to the hospital to visit some folks this week and they are still requiring masks…sorta. The signs say you must be screened to enter but you don’t. The signs say that even one, including patients, must wear a mask but none of patients did though most other people did. A real strange outcome of all of this is the job market. There apparently are more jobs than people who want to work. I saw a sign that said, “Now Hiring…Just Like Everyone Else.” And believe it or not, when some people take a job, they may only stay a few days or weeks. How different…how strange.
I went to my hearing doctor this week and he asked me how church (he knows I am a pastor) was going and what percentage of people have come back. I told him we were running about 80 or 85 percent of our pre-Covid numbers. The truth is while Covid was doing its thing some folks just gave up on the church thing. Now that’s doesn’t necessarily mean they gave up on God, they just came to the conclusion that church wasn’t that big of a deal. I’m sure some people feel the same way about Cracker Barrel—pre-Covid they loved it but now they can do without it. How different…how interesting.
As a preacher, pastor guy I’m hoping that more of those who stopping coming and some who never came will rediscover and discover the value of this part of normalcy. I never gave up on Cracker Barrel because I love their breakfast and their meatloaf isn’t too bad either. There are several things that your local church provides that are worth hanging on to. Chief among them are friendships and fellowship, someone to walk with you and your family as you do life, studying the number one bestselling book, the Bible, and being together with other people who think God is still relevant…because He is.
So, welcome back to normal. As you rediscover life, I hope you will enjoy a great meal somewhere familiar…maybe Cracker Barrel or better a local place that misses you. And why not think about coming home to God’s house. Truthfully, they need you and you need them. The church offers something that nothing, not hobbies, not sports, not anything else can provide. It offers hope…it offers Jesus. Whoever wrote Hebrews said, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.” Now that’s some good advice. I know, sometimes it is hard to come home but your Dearest Daddy is waiting and ready to help. Don’t worry…He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne