Larry Deeds

Remember when you first heard of COVID-19, and a couple of months ago we were beginning to hear of possible cancellations, postponements, orders to stay home, business closings and so on? Who would have thought that we’d still be where we are today, still in our homes, still seeing the news every day with the number of new cases and deaths? It’s almost mind-boggling.

I know we all have opinions and our own thoughts on things concerning our current situation. Differing news reports — both local and international — cause us to wonder just how much real information is known.

And we each have our own concerns about different phases of life in this “new normal.”

As an educator, my heart has gone out to our school children at all levels of education, school faculties and, of course, parents.

I know our school staffs have tried diligently to continue educating children in a vastly different educational climate. But I also know that for many of our students, they are simply losing three months of instruction that they will not get back.

Our seniors were looking forward to all the senior activities: sneak day, prom, senioritis, get-togethers with friends and, of course, graduation.

I have been very pleased to see that our local board of education has decided to listen to others about different ways to hold graduation and hopefully to think outside the box.

It seems like a knee-jerk reaction to declare all virtual graduations a full month before the day when much can change in these coming weeks. Graduation dates are not set in stone and could be moved back. Other ways of honoring our seniors can also be explored. I hope the board will actually listen to student, parent and teacher ideas before making a final decision that will affect these students indefinitely.

But I think for me the biggest question I have concerns the issue of essential versus nonessential businesses. I would have liked to have seen all of our businesses up and running full steam ahead through this whole ordeal, but I know that’s not possible. Some businesses, by their nature, deal more personally with people in close proximity, and that supposedly creates danger. I wish I had gotten a hair cut and my oil changed before the orders came down, and I’m sure we all have things we wish we could do.

Keeping grocery stores and restaurant drive-throughs open would seem to be a no brainer. Our medical facilities are working 24/7 and we are thankful for them, and even our funeral homes, though operating differently, are busier than normal. But as I see commercials on television for various essential businesses, I realize more and more how this pandemic is politicized and how money and who you know speaks volumes.

There are two areas that seem to be getting a lot of press. One is deemed by some governmental bodies as nonessential while the other is up and running as usual. The first is the church.The second is the abortion industry.

Of course, as a Christian and a pastor, I deem the church as essential, every day, 24/7. The church has been the central focus of public life for the past 2,000 years. When a new settlement came into being, it started with a church and a school. We all understand that the church is not a building, it is the people. But God called for His people to be together, commanding us “not to forsake our assembling” (Hebrews 10:25).

I understand the concerns over large crowds and I know there are different ways for church people to fellowship. I have been appreciative of Gov. McMaster’s understanding of the Constitution and our freedom of religion, not just the freedom to worship in our home (as one previous president opined), but the right to worship freely, under the direction of God.

Churches have been very creative in continuing their services, and for that I’m thankful.

I appreciate services online, on YouTube and Facebook and have enjoyed being on Zoom with others of our congregation. I appreciate those who are having drive-in services in their own church parking lots. And I even appreciate those who have chosen to continue to meet in their churches.

Each local church is independent and under the authority of Jesus Christ. I will not stand before God for the actions of other church leaderships but for the one church where the Lord has called me. So I will not criticize the direction other churches take.

I appreciate courts that have upheld the rights of churches to meet in various ways. In Kentucky, a federal judge ruled against the mayor’s order that a church on Easter could not even have a drive-in service. The judge rules that the “Mayor’s decision is stunning and is beyond all reason, unconstitutional.”

He said he never expected to see a situation like this “outside the pages of a dystopian novel,” And the federal Department of Justice has come to the aid of other churches that had been subjected to governmental overreach.

Certainly, the church should be an example of prudence and care, of love and compassion for others and we are encouraged in scripture to obey the powers that are in authority over us. But we can see from our current situation how easily our basic human rights and freedoms can be taken away by the wrong leadership as they were in many totalitarian nations, past and present.

Only the Lord can get us out of our current world situation, and His church is His arms and legs in this world.

As Christians, let us honor our governmental leaders and our church leaders, but let us pray to and obey Christ first and foremost. Because, after all, Christ is the head of every true church.

And that brings me to my last point for this week. The most hypocritical aspect of our current situation deals with the politicizing of life and death. Our medical community is made up of thousands of heroic men and women working long hours under the most difficult circumstances. One doctor in a foreign country said he and his colleagues are no longer doctors but “sorters, determining who should live and die.”

Our patients in hospitals and nursing homes are without visitors. To go to a hospital, we must go through a triage tent, answer a lot of questions and then, maybe or maybe, not see a doctor. I’ve had appointments canceled and many of you have too. I understand and agree with this.

But what I can’t understand is with doctors canceling unnecessary and elective surgeries and procedures, why are we still killing our unborn children in our abortion clinics? Perhaps you didn’t realize that, but the abortion industry is doing well. While our medical professionals are working day and night to save lives, other so-called medical men and women are continuing their grisly practice of ending the lives of our unborn. Many have written letters and emails to political leaders, but it seems as if they’re falling on deaf ears. Again, politics and money make the difference of life and death. As the lives of every man, woman and child who contact COVID-19 are meaningful and precious, so are the lives of every unborn child. We must continue to pray and work to end this needless slaughter.

So as we continue on in this surreal life we’re living, let us continue to stay in God’s Word; continue to be prayer warriors; fellowship in your local church as your leadership chooses; look out for your family, your neighbors, your friends; keep up with the elderly, those living alone and those with special needs and share your things and your life with others.

God is still in control. Let us be used by Him to ease this situation for others.

“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:3-4)

Yes, we are our “brothers’ keepers.”

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