First Things First - Beginning a New Ministry

“Put first things first and second things are thrown in. Put second things first and you lose both first and second things.”  C. S. Lewis

This article is written by Bradford Mercer, Senior Associate Pastor.

Last night while driving home from the church I turned the radio on and there was Bob Dylan singing, “The Times They Are A-Changin'”.  Indeed they are.  The coronavirus has changed our world.  Dylan’s words just drove that home to me one more time in one more way. 

This is a time for first things, the most important things. We’re asking basic questions:  “Are my family and friends healthy?” “Do we have enough food?” “Am I going to lose my job?” “What is God doing?”  We’re doing basic things like sit, talk, walk, read, pray, and chase kids! 
Beginning today, March 17, Highlands will be sending you weekly articles every Tuesday from one of our regular teachers. Andy Hoffecker, Ben Gladd, Bill McDonald, Jeff Brannon, Brad Mercer, and others have committed to contribute articles to this new, weekly ministry.  Frankly, I’m very excited about this, and I hope it is a wonderful blessing to you in these anxious, uncertain times.
As I continue to read about and reflect on our current crisis, I can’t help but compare it to something that C.S. Lewis wrote way back in 1948, “On Living in an Atomic Age” (in his book, Present Concerns). Just think “coronavirus” instead of atomic age/bomb.
From Lewis’s essay:

“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—anaesthetics; 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 and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a 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.
Lewis says it well, first things first. 

Look for next Tuesday’s edition (3/24) of First Things First!
God bless you this week, 

Brad Mercer