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Tag: ForGodsSake

Michael Bannon Headshot

For God’s Sake: Let’s join Jesus outside the camp

When my wife arrived, she went straight to our bedroom to quarantine herself pending her co-worker’s test results, an estimated 24-48 hours.

At first, it was kind of fun. We clowned around with the Two-Way app that turns your smartphone into a two-way radio. My radio handle was Base, kind of boring, and my wife’s, Quarantine Queen. She knew the radio protocols having listened as a child to her father’s banter on his ham radio set. It took me all afternoon to remember to say “over” at the end of my communications.

Dinnertime presented our first challenge. I love to cook, so the prep was easy, but we had yet to work out the delivery system. A wooden footstool set outside the bedroom door became our transfer station. “Hey, Quarantine Queen.”

“Go base, over.”

“Your dinner is ready.”

“Roger that, and you forgot to say ‘over.’ Over.”

“Whatever.” I stepped back about 10 feet and watched as a set of arms reached out the door and snatched the tray inside. A muffled thank you came through the door.

“You forgot to say ‘over,’” I muttered.

After dinner, my keen brain suddenly realized that I would have to do the dishes, walk the dog, and anything else to be done outside the quarantine zone for the next few days.

The 24-hour wait, became 48 hours and still no test results, just word that her co-worker’s symptoms had worsened. “It’s the coronavirus for sure – over,” we both agreed via Two-Way. I slept restlessly on a recliner, the sofa, and in a guest bedroom all in one night. Finally, after 72 hours in quarantine, my wife texted me to say that her co-worker had tested negative.

The Bible describes how Jesus “also suffered outside the gate,” to set his people apart to God with his own blood. It encourages us to “go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.” During Israel’s 40 years wandering in the wilderness, those who contracted certain diseases were “quarantined” outside the camp and declared ceremonially unclean. Disease was an unwelcomed reminder that sin is in the world. After a prescribed period, they were examined and, if well, allowed back in the camp.

Jesus identified himself with those outside the camp, willingly bearing the shame and reproach for our sins when he died on the cross on that hill outside the gate. The invitation to join him outside the camp is a call to willingly bear for his name’s sake the reproach that he bore for us.

Our short quarantine experience brought home the weightiness of this call. Quarantining was inconvenient, but so is following Jesus. It was lonely, but so is following Jesus. Quarantining is for the benefit of others, and so is our faithfully following Jesus. Let’s join him outside the camp.

Michael Bannon Headshot

For God’s Sake: Do not live as if this world is your permanent home

Looking around our home, post-Christmas, I noticed something – we have a lot of empty cardboard boxes.

In addition to a nice collection in our garage, we have a fine display of sturdy, reliable boxes in our dining room, a room we rarely use. I know what you are thinking – somebody got a load of presents this Christmas.

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Michael Bannon Headshot

For God’s Sake: Free TV for price of kindness

My wife and I had a strange, wonderful experience recently. I was working from home when our doorbell rang. What used to be a childish prank – ring a doorbell then run away – is now the norm for package deliverers. I opened the door and propped up against the wall was an enormous, thin box. It was a 50-inch flatscreen TV. I hadn’t ordered a flatscreen TV.

I stared at the box thinking through the possibilities. A Christmas gift from my wife? No, we have no room for a TV that large. I checked the shipping label. The addressee was a name I did not know. The address looked like ours, “6455,” but with the poor print quality, it could have been “6466,” hence the delivery error. My smartphone said that “6466” was a mere 150 feet to my west. It was now dark and cold outside, so I brought the TV inside, threw on a coat and started up the street. I walked west, retraced my steps, then walked east. My phone lied, there is no 6466.

My wife is more resourceful in such matters, so she took up the quest when she arrived home from work. First, she snapped a photo of the shipping label and enlarged it. It read “6455,” which made the delivery even more strange. An online search of the addressee yielded a possibility. My wife fired off an appropriately cryptic note to the person on Nextdoor and on Facebook Messenger. No response. Studying the shipping label, she noticed a 10-digit number under the address. A phone number? She tried the number, gave me a smile, and left an explanatory message in a voicemail. A short time later, we got a call back.

The flatscreen was a gift from her mother for one of the grandkids, the caller explained and, yes, they used to live at our address but had moved two years ago. Even though “mom” had been to their new home at Thanksgiving, she still had the TV delivered to the old address. “My mom could get lost in a closet,” the caller chuckled and then offered to send her husband over to pick up the TV. My wife then asked that all-important Christmas question, “Is this gift supposed to be a surprise?” It was. “Do you want us to keep it here until Christmas?”

“You would do that for us?!” the caller asked. “Yes, thank you!” After more friendly small talk, the caller added, “You’ll probably get another delivery tomorrow.”

We did – another 50-inch flatscreen.

Some 2,000 years ago, God surprised the world with a gift on its doorstep, God the son, come in human flesh, born as a baby. God had promised to send a redeemer; the surprise was that the redemption the redeemer would bring required his death. Christ Jesus died for sin then God raised him from the dead so that whoever would put their faith in Christ alone would be saved from the judgment and have eternal life with God. Friends, the gift of Christmas is the Christ of Christmas. Trust in him.

Michael Bannon Headshot

For God’s Sake

I am from Canada where, as I say far too often to my wife, we speak the Queen’s good English. The first time she met my family, she was slightly intimidated by their precise diction and greatly amused by their accents and “quaint” vocabulary.

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Michael Bannon Headshot

For God’s Sake

There is a dog food commercial that makes me laugh. It begins with slow-motion footage of a sleek wolf bounding through the woods. The wolf leaps effortlessly over a log but then mid-leap, is transformed into a golden retriever that nails the landing and bounds off.

A voiceover explains that inside every dog there is the spirit of a wolf, so buy this company’s dog food. What makes me laugh is that, nearby, our “wolf,” a 15-year-old, 20-pound snaggle of fur, is laying on the floor snoring loudly and sporting a “male wrap,” which is kind of a doggie diaper.

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