December 17, 2020
Dear Members and Friends,
This week a friend sent me the transcript of an essay written by C. S. Lewis in 1948. It is entitled “On Living in an Atomic Age. “ I am aware the new year is upon us, and it is clear the struggles of 2020 will continue and intensify through 2021. Some pundits are even predicting the current social upheavals will continue into 2022. How much of this is preparing us for more and more governmental control and social engineering remains to be seen. But this is why I want you to read and reflect carefully on the first three paragraphs of Lewis’ essay.
In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors – anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances in which death itself was not a chance at all, but certainty.
This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts – not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.
I think Lewis has hit upon the very essence of what I hope for our congregation. While observing reasonable precautions and adhering to the recommendations of those in authority, I believe the Lord wants His people at Deerfield to live as normally as possible, “not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about” Covid19. Again, to paraphrase Lewis, a microbe may break our bodies, but it need not dominate our minds. How to do that creatively will require prayer, wise leadership, and common sense. All of these things can easily be abandoned in an age of anxiety, but the Lord calls us to trust Him and seek our wisdom in His word, not the latest news alert. Can we do it? I honestly don’t know, but as your pastor, I will make every endeavor to pursue the principles outlined in Lewis’ prophetic essay. Simply substitute “Covid19” for “atomic bombs” and you have a Biblical perspective on this moment in our human history. “Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.”
Ken Larter, Minister
Worship Protocol for Congregants
What to Expect
- No Sunday School or Nursery will be provided until further notice.
- Elders continue to urge those who are reluctant, sick or especially vulnerable to worship in electronic unison from their homes.
- The church sexton will thoroughly clean the Sanctuary on Friday and Saturday as customary while wearing gloves and mask. All commonly touched surfaces- pew tops, door handles and toilet room surfaces- will be wiped with disinfectant.
- In consideration for others and for your own protection; all are requested to wear masks while entering and exiting the Sanctuary, maintain six feet of distance to other non-family attendees and refrain from hugs, handshakes and similar physical contact.
- In order to facilitate social distancing guidelines, every other pew will be marked “Please, No Seating This Pew”. In addition, pews available for seating will be marked “Please, No Seating this Side” on alternating ends in order to maximize the distance between attending worshipers. Latecomers may be ushered to available seating, which may include choir pews or opposite ends of occupied pews.
- After the service, ushers will direct pews to exit beginning from the rear of the Sanctuary first. In consideration for others and for your own protection; particular care is requested to maintain social distancing guidelines.