“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” an inscription on the James Farley Post Office in New York City boasts. But no one said anything about spiders!
This past week, the Spencer Magnet reported: “Poisonous spiders shut down post office.” The alarming story announced that the Fisherville Post Office would be closed until further notice because of “an invasion of potentially deadly spiders.” Brown recluse spiders, whose bite inflicts serious pain, open sores, illness and sometimes death, had been discovered inside. Local mail is being rerouted to another post office branch. “No bites have been reported nor were spiders discovered in any mail,” a postal employee sought to reassure folks. Good thing! … But I’m still not taking any chances. If mail should arrive at Western Recorder offices with a Fisherville post mark, don’t expect us to open it.
As disconcerting as this bit of local news was, though—and I get “the willies” just thinking about creepy-crawlies—it doesn’t compare to the distressing national and international headlines over the past few days.
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal April 25, killing at least 4,000 people, injuring more than 7,000, and leveling buildings and homes. David Platt, president of the International Mission Board, wrote, “As I thought of the massive physical need that was already there on top of the massive spiritual need, and realized that an earthquake of this magnitude would have devastating effects across the region, I was drawn immediately to my knees. I cried out to God for His mercy and His might to be made known among the people in that area.” In addition to challenging Southern Baptists to use our resources to help the situation in Nepal through Baptist Global Response, Platt said the tragedy might serve as “a wake-up call in your life to realize in a fresh way that there are urgent physical and spiritual needs around the world.”
The U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments April 28 about whether the Constitution requires states to license or recognize same-sex marriages. Andrew Walker, director of policy studies for the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said during a prayer gathering for the preservation of marriage: “We pray this as Christians who believe that marriage is something uniquely beautiful that somehow mysteriously unveils the gospel. But we also pray for marriage for the sake of the common good.” SBC President Ronnie Floyd told Baptist Press his church, like so many across the nation, had “asked God for a miracle” in the form of the high court’s nine justices upholding the traditional definition of marriage. Baptist leaders encourage us to pray that the Lord will raise up lawmakers and judges who fear Him and who will pass and uphold God-honoring legislation.
Racial turmoil erupted in Baltimore April 27-28. Rioting, looting and arson broke out following the funeral of Freddie Gray, an African American who died from a spinal injury while in police custody. Joel Kurz, pastor of The Garden Church, reported, “The CVS Pharmacy that was looted and set on fire is the place where our sick and elderly people go for their medicines. As you walk up and down the street, every strip of stores has broken glass. Many of them have been looted and damaged.” Kurz started Tuesday morning in prayer with fellow pastors before they head out into the streets to join in cleanup efforts and help begin a process of healing. Baltimore pastors asked Southern Baptists to join them in prayer for the city. Meanwhile, the unthinkable happened in Major League Baseball, the Orioles pitched a shut-out—to their fans—by holding a game against the White Sox without a soul in the stands. The silence spoke volumes about civic unrest and concern for public welfare and player safety.
One thing is apparent: Our world desperately needs Good News. Jesus tells us that we can find true peace in Him: “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). David Gaines, an African American pastor in Baltimore, reminds us, “I’m sure the only solution for this problem as well as any other cultural, social or personal problem is Jesus Christ. The only thing that’s going to change that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ changing hearts ….” It’s also apparent: We have a great deal of work to do in bringing His hope and healing to the masses.