When our three children were young and we were traveling as a family, Janna and I often heard the words most every parent hears from the back seat: “Are we there yet?” If the trip was long and this question was repeated often enough, steam would rise from my ears. “No, we are NOT there yet!”
There was another familiar exchange I had with the kids while driving. The kids would fuss with one another to the point that I would blurt out, “Okay, if you guys don’t stop it right now I’m going to pull over to the side of the road until you do!” Which, when I think about it now, doesn’t make much sense because that would mean a delay and riding in the car with fussy kids for an even longer stint of pure agony. If you’re wondering if we were just really bad parents, I can tell you that we also played wonderful driving games and my wife often sang cute songs with them. But I can imagine there are plenty of parents reading this that understand the emotional trauma of long trips with young children. Am I right?
This leads to a question about getting past COVID-19 and back to “normal”: Are we there yet? As I write this, there is beginning to be some easing of restrictions in some states. Some places are now allowing limited re-engaging of churches meeting onsite. I’m sure when this is read there will have been innumerable changes and continuing challenges related to decisions about COVID-19 and how we now do life.
Are we there yet? I’m not sure there will ever be a full answer to this question. COVID-19 has changed the world we live in. Who would have thought that a virus could/would impact the entire world all at the same time. It’s been an unprecedented worldwide event.
I’ve read or heard of church leaders saying, “If only we could impact the entire world with the gospel like that.” Yes, if only. But just as COVID-19 has been about being transmitted via personal contact, so also is the gospel. We pass it along, not to the whole world at the same time but person to person, contact to contact. No, the gospel is obviously not a virus. It’s not something to fear or try to prevent—so those correlations don’t fit.
But the gospel should be contagious. If we have it, why don’t others catch it from us? How is it that we rub shoulders with people and they’re never exposed to what we know as followers of Jesus? Do we even exhibit what should be the obvious symptoms of having the Holy Spirit living inside us?
Many of us have likely read about the new technology now available for administering vaccines—the Quantum Dot. As the vaccine is administered, it leaves a simple invisible tattoo that can be read with a smart phone which provides information about when the person was inoculated and if they are protected from disease. This way, doctors and medical personnel can easily determine the reality of immunity in that person’s system. This technology is so inexpensive that it can be used in even the poorest of countries.
An app on a smart phone can read the information in an instant. Pretty cool if you ask me. It may also be very dangerous if this technology gets used in the wrong way with the wrong ideology. But I won’t go there.
Ephesians 1:13 says, “And you also were included with Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.” I wonder about myself: Can others read that I have been sealed with the Holy Spirit? Can it be easily determined that I have the truth of the gospel flowing in me? If you shine a light on my life, does the gospel show up clearly?
Don Morris is the USMB national director. He and his wife, Janna, live in Edmond, Oklahoma, where they attend Cross Timbers Church.