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Monday, March 23, 2020

Fields of Screams

This is normally a big season for screamers. Spring ritual sports usually has umpires screaming, “Play ball!” Fans of hockey, basketball, soccer, and other lesser known sports have a fair share of screamers as well. Even the more sedate sport of golf has certain events with lots of screamers present. Plus the occasional nut job who screams to be heard on national telecasts.

Sports stadiums and fields may be quiet. The games may have ceased. The wild anticipation of exciting competition has subsided. But not all the screams.

This time, they are the screams of every sports lover, concert, or event-goer who has had their ticket cancelled. It is the common scream of “NOOOOOOO!!!” And it’s resounding right down to the Las Vegas bookmakers.

There’s another whole group of screamers not on the front line. Think of all the restaurants and stadium workers who were counting on income this spring. And those parking attendants. Actually, the collective group of screamers is too large to even measure. Especially the suddenly unemployed.

The next decision forces some really difficult thinking. It’s played out in trying to answer this question—often screamed—“Now what am I going to do?”

Right. We’ve come to build our calendars around events. Whether attending in person or watching on the 105 inch latest television mega screen, we plan our lives based on entertainment choices.

The agonizing decision of “what am I going to do now?” hits all screamers alike. Television networks are airing sports reruns. Restaurants have to beef up pick up and delivery services. Seasonal workers and entertainers need to plan for a monetary adjustment…or find another income source. Brutal.

Even churches are scurrying. Governments have either put the lid on the number of people who can “congregate” in a given place, or souls are being told to “shelter in place.” Thus, many churches have to forego their normal worship services. By God’s grace, and significant technology advancements, we can now “video stream” and video conference everything from meetings to weekly gatherings of any type.

There are certain groups who will feel this COVID-19 related pain more deeply than others. First and foremost, there are those families who will lose loved ones to the virus. Other losses will result—not life threatening, but hugely disappointing. There are students planning events, including trips, concerts, productions, and sports related contests that cannot be made up. It may be the only time these students have these opportunities. Family reunions, weddings, anniversary celebrations will all be impacted.

So now it’s time to get creative. Let’s find ways to redeem the time we have available. As an example, outdoor and indoor family games might become the new in vogue thing. Go out and scream with siblings, or your kids, in some outdoor sports!

Or…come up with a new form of fantasy competition that does not require real life players! Maybe a John Madden video game fantasy league could be formed. Or…maybe not.

This COVID-19 ordeal might well produce a new family tradition. One unlike any other. It might bring fathers back together with their children! New ways may arise to hold those weddings and other celebrations.

But let’s agree not to sulk. Or complain. Let’s put our ingenuity to work and use this season to make our world a better place!

I’m even recommending a different kind of screamer for our church. These would be “shouters.” The Bible is certainly in favor of them. Psalm 66 states, “Shout for joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious.” vs 1-2 (NIV) In an earlier Psalm we read, “Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise!” Psalm 47:1

These may seem like desperate times. Enough to make you want to scream. Take control of that urge and learn to shout for joy! The God of the universe is listening.

That’s Forward Thinking. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

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