It’s now clear that COVID-19 is a deadly serious global pandemic, and all necessary precautions should be taken. Still, C. S. Lewis’s words—written 72 years ago—ring with some relevance for us. Just replace “atomic bomb” with “coronavirus.”
“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.“
— “On Living in an Atomic Age” (1948) in Present Concerns: Journalistic EssaysFrom “C.S. Lewis on the Corona Virus” by MATT SMETHURST
“We will work simply and quietly. Even if we never see wonders with our own eyes or hear them with our ears, we are planting the Kingdom of Heaven into the nations and will look for the fruit that grows from it.”Count Nicklaus Ludwig Von Zinzendorf
The most life-changing encounter I have ever had with God was when I had the audacity to challenge God to prove Himself to me.
Instead of ignoring me or striking me down in my arrogance, He responded in love, and He answered me.
And I have never forgotten that day.
“I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
Amen.”“Wesley Covenant Service”, John Wesley, Founder of the Methodist Church
Also, did you know that Martha’s Vinyard is the site of the first Methodist Summer Campground in the United States?
Since there are only a few days left in 2019 and I don’t think I will get any more books in before the year ends, here’s a list of some of the books I read in 2019 that you should add to your 2020 list.
“Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life” by Marshall B. Rosenberg
“The Red Sea Rules: Ten God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times” by Robert J. Morgan
“The Pilgrim’s Regress” by C.S. Lewis
“The Boy Crisis: Why our boys are struggling and what we can do about it” by Warren Farrell Ph.D. and John Gray Ph.D.
“The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis
“Punk Monk: New Monasticism and the Ancient Art of Breathing” by Andy Freeman
“The Road Back to You” by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile
“The Naked Now: Learning to see as the mystics see” by Richard Rohr
“Orthodoxy” by G.K. Chesterton
“Simplicity: The Freedom of Letting Go.” By Richard Rohr
“The Lord and His Prayer” by N.T. Wright
“Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life” by Henri Nouwen
“Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer” by Richard Rohr
“Making All Things New: An Invitation to the Spiritual Life” by Henri Nouwen
“Everything Belongs to God: Discovering the Hidden Christ” by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt
“Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life” by Richard Rohr
“Humility” by Andrew Murray
“The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Henri Nouwen
“A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” by Eugene H. Peterson
“The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Own Unique Path to Spiritual Growth” by Christopher L. Heuertz
“How the Bible Actually Works” by Peter Enns
“Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God’s Image” by Dr. Paul Bland and Philip Yancey
“How To Pray: A Simple Guide for Normal People.” by Pete Greig
“No Man Is an Island” by Thomas Merton
“Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved” by Kate Bowler
“The Lord of the Ring” by Phil Anderson
“The Jesus Way” by Eugene Peterson
“Blessed Broken Given” by Glen Packian
“Letters from a Modern Mystic” by Frank C. Laubach
“The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer