16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
Rejecting evil is easy when it is put like that.
Well of course I am going to do that. Who wouldn’t? An average dude is not going to seek evil, they are not going to go down the wrong road on purpose. It doesn’t happen like that though.
Part of my job when I was an assistant at Tesco was to smile and be pleasant but sometimes it was hard. Especially when a customer was rude or ignorant or both. It is hard not to be smart mouthed, or mealy mouthed or unpleasant back.
Hold on to what is good is easy to do when put like that.
HOLD ON TO WHAT IS GOOD
Well of course I am going to do that. Who wouldn’t? I will always hold on to that which is good. Well I will try…
The problem is life gets in the way of it. Holding on to the good is hard when a child is disobedient, a car brakes right in front, a neighbour paints a fence the “wrong” colour, a spouse is silent, the dog barks, the baby screams. Life can be quite hard to navigate through.
And then Covid-19 arrives, suddenly civil liberties are taken away (for really good reasons to stop the spread of the virus) and the world (or so it seems) sits at home living vicariously through the lives of key workers. Memes and GIFs appear constantly through the day and some of them are not good. There is a heightened xenophobia that has caused attacks. One Chinese student in Belfast contacted his friends studying at different universities all over the world and they shared a common thread. They were being looked at, spat at, attacked, brushed against etc because they were Chinese (or looked like it) and wear wearing masks.
Covid-19 arrives and I want… We are so used to getting what we want whether that is nerdy library time of a drive through McD’s and we do not like it when we can’t. But we are grown ups, we know this has to be done to stop the spread of the virus. A neighbour complained the money people were getting was too much through social welfare. It is hard to cling to the good.
Covid-19 arrived and I got a cold. It was just a cold but I felt like a leper walking around Belfast with my wee snuffle. Now in Kerry I get, from No 2 son, “Is that a cough, did you just cough. Don’t come today. You can shop for me tomorrow.” It is just me clearing my throat but he is scared, he is worried and I can’t seem to cling enough to the good that it is seen by him.
Well that’s easy, when the sky is blue and the sun is shining and all is well in my little world. But death is coming, it might not come to my door but cousin Charlotte’s sister in law and the sister in law’s father has it. They have friends who have it. It is coming. So how do I rejoice always when the evil virus is out there.
Praying , reading Scripture and contemplation are gifts given to allow the weak me to hold on to what is good and reject evil even in a season of lock-down, fear, worry, dread and uncertainty.