Looking Backwards

Many years from now, when the world looks back on 2020, will they wonder what all the fuss was about? Will they think of us the way we think of people who believed the world was flat, and if a ship sailed too far, it would slip off the earth? How crazy was Galileo, to think that the earth orbited the sun, when we could all see that it was the sun that moved! Penicillin is a mold – a cause, not a cure – for illness. The Clan of the Cave Bears by Jean Auel, makes a strong case for the survival of early ancestors of today’s humans, and the extinction of Neanderthals because one could combine information and create new patterns, where the other could only remember and repeat what had been.
Orville and Wilbur Wright were not the first to attempt enging powered heavier-than-air flight, nor were they successful immediately. It took years of engineering, tinkering and trying to achieve that first flight, and even more effort before it became truly workable. [Yes, I know that there are some who insist that another person beat them to it, but the Wrights were the first to publicize what they had done. Besides, I’m from Dayton, Ohio!] Thank God others continued to develop planes and systems to operate them which has changed our world significantly. Thank God for those who continue to improve the safety and reliability of planes that are essential to our economy, our safety, and our personal lives.
Almost every human endeavor develops over time. When flaws become apparent, solutions are sought to improve performance. When additional information becomes available because of verified results, we affirm what is working. When something becomes obsolete due to advances or changes in our world, we replace it. A few people hold onto their records and players, but most of us listen to digital music on cell phones that are not connected to the wall by wires and screws. I haven’t replaced my Presto pressure cooker with an instant pot, but the day will probably come when I can no longer buy replacement rings to maintain the seal. Are there any among us who haven’t opted for a “new, improved” product at one time or another?
So why, when dealing with information about how to protect one another from transmission of the coronavirus, are we insisting that masks aren’t effective because at the beginning of the pandemic, we didn’t have enough information on how the virus spread? Now that we have ample evidence that it is airborne, that it does not live indefinitely on hard surfaces, but needs a living host, and that transmission occurs most often through sustained interaction with an infected person, why are we still fussing about maintaining physical distance and wearing masks that limit the particles we breathe in and out? As for those who cite their faith in God as a reason not to be compliant with safety regulations, remember that Jesus, when tempted by Satan, who asked him to throw himself off the tower and let God’s angels save him, replied, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
How I hope that we are not latter-day Neanderthals, doomed to become extinct because we cannot or will not learn to adapt when new information becomes available. How I hope that there are generations to follow us who will say, “What were they thinking??” How I hope that we will accept the wisdom that comes from additional information and experience, that we will care for and about one another, and that we will not put God to the test. For God will pass the test, but we may not.
Stay safe and be blessed,
Pastor Barbara

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