Good Wednesday morning to all. Isn’t it a gorgeous day! Enjoy and be safe. Just a reminder that Lenten Service will be held tonight at 7:00 p.m.. Use your Sunday worship link. Please see message below:
When I woke up this morning, I reflected on my travels to three different counties in the state of Maryland on yesterday. What I am about to write is based solely on my observations. My first stop was in St. Mary’s County where I had to take care of some business at different establishments. I must admit that I felt a little awkward going into the stores, bank, Amish places of business, etc., for no one was wearing a mask. Initially my observation and thought were that the whites were the only ones not wearing masks, but I later came across a brother who was all up in everybody else’s face without a mask. As my wife and I traveled, we continued to wear our mask regardless of how awkward we looked or felt. I began to wonder if there was still a pandemic or if people have just lost their minds. Maybe, we have reached a point where society has decided to accept whatever comes, be it sickness, death or life. Yes, I felt awkward, but not enough to take my mask off.
Later in the day we traveled to Charles County Maryland, and I must admit we felt a lot more at ease because a larger percentage of the people were wearing masks. The environment was entirely different, for most of the employees in the stores or restaurant were wearing masks. The feeling of awkwardness was not as severe as it was in St. Mary’s County.
We then traveled back home to Prince George’s County where it seemed that everybody was wearing a mask. Again, this is based on my observations. Now we truly felt comfortable, and the feeling of awkwardness had faded away. I have concluded that wearing a mask has a lot to do with demographics and politics.
I am sure all of us have had experiences where we have felt awkward, ashamed or out of place. To be honest with you, I feel a little awkward writing about a mask when the people of Ukraine are fighting for survival. As I have watched the refugees going into other countries, no one seems concerned about a mask and I truly understand why. When bombs and artillery are being fired around your heads and family members and friends are losing their lives, awkwardness is not even a thought. It is awkward to see so much devastation and lives being lost in Ukraine and there is really nothing we can do individually to help.
Truth of the matter is that lots of things over the last two years have been a little awkward. Think even about the weather. One day it is like a summery day and the next day the temperature drops below freezing. I even noticed that the snowbirds, well that is what I call them, seemed to have been around at various times of the year and not just winter. Human beings have even taken on some odd and awkward behaviors over the last two years or so. Some of the most bizarre and unbelievable things have happened that has cause us to put more faith and trust in God.
Imagine Adam and Eve in the Middle of the Garden of Eden, where God had created for them. Only one tree in the entire garden was off limit to them. They could eat any fruit they wanted, but they could not eat from this one tree. Now, a crafty serpent comes by and convince them to eat of the forbidden fruit. After eating the fruit, they become aware of their nakedness (aha). Read Genesis 3.
Here they are in the Garden of Eden, living comfortably in nudity without feeling ashamed, but all of a sudden you realize you are naked because they failed to adhere to one simple rule or command from God. Because of these two partners in crime, we have been wearing clothes ever since. Is that awkward or not? Ain’t that good news!
How awkward it must have felt for the Apostle Paul to be persecuting the church and killing folk one day, but find himself proclaiming Jesus shortly thereafter. Wherever he went the gospel or good news of salvation was shared with others. The bottom line is that the Apostle Paul was ingenious about sharing or engaging people with his messages about Jesus. Read Acts 9, 22 and 26 where it mentions Paul being tasked to be a witness to the gentiles.
I have a friend who witnesses to others about Jesus any and everywhere. I have been with him in the grocery store, gas station, restaurant, etc. and he will get up and start talking to strangers about Christianity and his faith. He seems to get a charge out of it and so should we. I admire him for his conviction.
I must admit that sometimes he is so direct and brazen in doing so, I feel a little uncomfortable or awkward about sharing my faith. I am however quickly reminded that it is all of our responsibilities to assist people in changing their lives for the better and experience eternity.
Mark 16: 15-16 reminds us that Jesus said unto them, “Go into the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
As awkward as it may feel, share your faith with someone today.
Not a sermon, just my thoughts!
Robert Earl Slade, Pastor