Caption: A typical family, as they “shelter in place,” worshiping in spirit and in truth via FBC of Sycamore livestream on Sunday, March 22 @ 10:30am. FBC Sycamore Livestream
The magistrates ordered [Paul and Silas] to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:22–25, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Greetings from northern Illinois (the “s” is silent), where we are sheltering in place. Yesterday Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order telling all Illinois residents to shelter in place until at least April 7. “My bedrock has been to rely upon science,” Pritzker said of his decision.
I don’t mean to disparage science (after all God created the science behind His creation) but our bedrock is, and always has been to rely upon God. Whether we acknowledge Him or not. Whatever the circumstances we find ourselves in. Even when we “shelter in place.” Maybe it will be an inconvenience. But we have not been “stripped and beaten.” We have not been “severely flogged.” While some may feel like it, we have not been “thrown into prison.” Under such extreme circumstances, “Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God.” We can do the same.
A final musing: “the other prisoners were listening to them.” During these scary times, the world around us is listening to and watching us. What are they hearing? Are they hearing griping, complaining and wailing, or are they hearing positive, reassuring words of encouragement and hope about the God we trust? What are they seeing? Do they see the same kind of fear that is gripping the world around us, or do they see calm, peace and assurance?
My Advice – Our circumstances have changed. Our attitude, behavior and outlook need not change. Our bedrock is on “Christ the solid rock.” Be like Daniel. “Now when Daniel learned that the decree [executive order] had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.” (Daniel 6:10–11, NIV 1984). In Illinois, for a season, we cannot come together in person to worship, as is our custom. But we can still gather together “virtually” to worship in Spirit and in truth “just as [we] had done before.” And that’s what really matters. And as you do, remember, people are listening and watching what the Christians do during “such a time as this.“
God bless, and have a “yabba, dabba do time,” and draw closer to God and your family whether you are required to shelter in place or not.