The fear of the coronavirus has created a climate of frenetic intemperance that is causing much anxiety and agitation. In times of crisis like these, calm is a very important virtue.
I witnessed this need for calm during a recent trip to Walmart. I was not there to buy anything since I simply wanted to see how the public was reacting to the crisis. One elderly man stood out from the rest as a paladin of calm, and thus provided what I call a Return to Order moment.
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in York, Pennsylvania. I had heard that the shelves of the supermarkets were empty. I went to see for myself by visiting several grocery stores and eventually, Walmart, “Where America Shops.”
There were, in fact, some bare shelves. At the time of this experience—who knows what tomorrow will bring– bread, bottled water, milk and toilet paper were the hot commodities. When I asked an employee what was going on, he said, “They think it is Armageddon.”
Indeed, I noticed a certain frenzy among shoppers. People were still civil with one another, but there seemed to be an ever-so-razor-thin-line that prevented things from quickly spiraling out of control. I noticed an employee pulling a cart with paper towels and toilet paper and quickly snapped a photo. He seemed surprised but continued his trek to fill the empty shelves. As he went, customers came out of the woodwork, following him like the pied piper. It reminded me of Black Friday after Thanksgiving.
As I was leaving the store, I noticed a calm gentleman, different from the frenzied crowd. He was pushing a cart with just one item inside—a box of cereal. I was intrigued by the message on his hat that said, “Jesus is My Boss.”
“Excuse me, sir,” I said. “I like your hat. He is also my boss.” I then quickly added, “I went the Holy Land last year.” Curiously enough, this did not get the response I was expecting, so I added with great emphasis, “I walked on the same ground Jesus did!” This caught his attention. By his calmness, I sensed he was someone who had beaten coronaphobia.
“What is going on here?” I asked, pointing to the frenzied masses. With great certainty and total calm, he said, “It’s the end of the world.” While we face a serious situation that requires precautions, I assured the man that it is not the end of the world but could be a prefigure of it.
We then chatted a bit about the need for faith in God in these difficult times. Although we profess different religions, I felt we had something profoundly in common. We cannot let this crisis allow us to forget that we are children of a forgiving God. Like the father of the Prodigal Son, He is ready to receive us with open arms. The only thing we need to do is repent and return to our Father’s house.
In his book, Return to Order, author John Horvat compares our modern society to a “cruise ship.” This cruise ship has come to a screeching halt. Now is the time to reacquire the lost virtue of calm like the gentleman in Walmart. We must recognize that materialistic solutions alone will not get us out of our mess. It is time that our secularistic world recognizes God’s authority and obey His laws.
While I liked my Walmart friend’s hat, I would put it in different terms. Referring to the Savior of the world as a “boss” transforms Him into a type of big CEO. He is much more. He is truly King of King and Lord of Lords. Therefore it is time for us all to accept Jesus as our King.