Charming My Fears

Good morning all!

Our admin department just found a mailing list that somehow got replaced by the present one something like 6 years ago. Several of the folks on the list have gone on to Glory, but some are good friends who I thought were getting my weekly offerings all along. If you’re one of those, you don’t need to do anything; just look forward to a new blog every Sunday. If by chance you’re one of those who thought you’d gotten rid of me, you can (1) write and tell me to leave you alone, or, (2) mark the email as junk and direct it into your trash bin. I for one am super excited at the prospect of catching up with old friends from my past. If you have a chance, please push “return” and tell me what’s going on in your life since we last had contact.

In the past seven years, we’ve retired to Australia, beaten Cancer, had a couple more grandkids, you know, the usual stuff.  If you want to read ad nauseum, you can catch up, so to speak, on either mywoods.net or marshawoods.blogspot.com

What I wanted to talk about today is a slight deviation from the series I’m doing at the moment, “Heroes of the Faith”.  I’d like to address today that elephant in the room, and in the road, and in my face and just about everywhere:  COVID.

If you’re anything like me, you’re just about OVER this pesky pandemic that’s affected every one of us.  We’re down here in Australia where the national death toll is only in the hundreds, and here in our state of Queensland (which is bigger than Texas), we’ve only seen seven deaths (one or two because of the vaccine, it seems).  You may have heard in the news that our biggest city, Sydney, is engaging the military to assure that masks are worn. That may be over exaggerated; it’s not martial law yet, but the most irritating facet to me is the fact that NO ONE is allowed to leave the country. This applies both to Aussie citizens (which we are) as well as to foreigners (which we also are). We hang on the daily reports of new cases, accompanied by new “emergency lockdowns” where we have to stay in our homes except for absolutely essential business. It’s like a daily reminder of that evil geography teacher we all had who would announce pop quizzes on a Monday.

In fact, just to ‘rub it in’ so to speak, we got news yesterday that we had about 4 hours to be where we wanted to be for the next 3 days.  Fortunately for us, it’s our anniversary today so we don’t mind being locked up together, but still……

All that said, we are blessed to be safe and sound, within driving distance of both kids and supplied with plenty of food and sunshine.  But even with that, the fear monger in me is starting to pop up. “Will this never end?”  “What happened to our freedom to live as responsible adults without someone hovering around me?” “Why are my friends so cranky?”

I can see the fear especially in some of the churches we attend. The unconfirmed gossip insists that a church out there “somewhere” was visited by the compliance police “sometime” and fined heavily for some “unknown” infraction.  This leads to critical attitudes around church, and big discussions on how to love the sinner (ie, mask refuser, sitting-too-close person, the actually “SHOOK my hand” person or “was perceived to be leaning in for a hug” friend, etc). It seems a shame because attitudes like this can drive wedges between the people who need the church’s fellowship the most.

And then, in the middle of all this turmoil, I heard a familiar hymn that seemed like the first time.  Most of you will know it: “Oh For a Thousand Tongues”. It was written by Charles Wesley in 1739. That’s nearly 300 years ago and yet….. his words ring true.  If you don’t know it, google it, but spoiler alert, there are several tunes out there.  I actually enjoy the British one more than the American one, but that’s not the point.

Singing it robustly last Sunday, I came to a surprised stop on the third verse.  I’ve sung this hymn thousands of times, but in the English version (not the Baptist Hymnal unfortunately) the words to the third verse are this,

“Jesus, the name that CHARMS our fears, that sets the captive free…….”

I don’t know about you, but to me “Charm” has sorta two meanings.  One is the ‘charm’ that engulfs me as I’m holding my newborn grandson.  The other one is what the guy with the flute does to the deadly cobra.

Either way, we’re rendered stunned, suddenly unafraid and no longer paranoid about stuff……….Then I wonder, can Jesus do this to me about Covid?  Can I let Him “Charm” my fears??

Jesus never changes.  Governments and rules do, but Jesus will be there to ‘charm our fears’ and keep us, dare I say, “Safe”?

Virtual hugs,

Marsha

“I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.” (Psalms 131:1-2)

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