Strange Land, Strange Times
   Psalms 137 1-3 is as follows: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. (2) We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. (3) For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.” The people of Judah (the Southern tribes of Israel) were carried away by the Babylonians into captivity. The Psalm says that the Babylonians were telling the Jews to sing the songs of praise for which they were famous. This reminds me of the slaves on the plantations who were told to sing their songs for their masters’ amusement. Later there were minstrel shows where either Black performers or White performers in “Black Face” sang the old plantation songs.
   That’s the challenge that many of us face today during the Coronavirus pandemic. In the midst of mandatory lockdowns, mask wearing, social distancing and restricted worship services, no doubt many of God’s modern people feel like the Jews of old. Some may feel hard pressed to sing the songs of Zion, in the midst of such a repressive situation. After all, we’ve seen 200,000 people lose their lives in the U.S. alone, and millions of people around the world. Some might say that there just isn’t a whole lot to shout about.
   But I’d like to let the whole world know that real soldiers of the Cross will not “hang our harps on the willow tree.” We refuse to allow our hands and heads to hang down in despair. Instead, we will take every day that our God gives us to worship Him and to encourage others. I serve notice on the Enemy of our souls today, who no doubt would love to see us wallow in pools of self-pity and languish in dungeons of sorrow. I declare today that my God is great and greatly to be praised. Indeed, it is by His grace that He has kept my body as well as my soul. For the many saints who themselves have been sick or who have had family who was sick, and yet our Lord delivered them, how can we hold back our praise? Yes, the pandemic is real, the virus is real, but Jesus is all powerful. He is more real. Lest we forget, He is faithful to His people. So, lift your heads, open your mouths, clap your hands and do your dance to the glory of our God, whose name is Jesus. He should never lack praise, honor and glory. Yes, we are in strange times, but we know Him and He yet lives!
Bishop Wells