A Moment to Reflect

12 August 2020

A Moment to Reflect -79


“Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn.
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there.” 

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“A major lesson in risk management is that a ‘receding sea’ is not a lucky offer of an extra piece of free beach, but the warning sign of an upcoming tsunami.” ― Jos Berkemeijer

Yesterday, I spoke about mountains from above looking like crumpled paper. Today I want to talk about a piece of paper that was surprisingly not crumpled at all.

Recently, after doing some clearing out, my wife handed over to one of our daughters a folder containing some of her worksheets and a notebook from when she was in Primary 6. Among the worksheets was one in which the pupils had to fill in the blanks on certain incomplete words. The passages were all extracted from news articles at the time (1996.) One dealt with the ‘mad cow disease’ (CJD) outbreak, another with continuing troubles in the Middle East and a particular Israeli attack on Lebanon in April of that year which had resulted in a large number of civilian casualties. 

But the passage that really caught my eye was headed “Threat of a Super Virus.”

In case, you can’t read it from the photograph, here is the exact text (including the missing letters): “Scientists warned that millions of people may die from a super-virus in the near future. Microbiologists have discovered that many viruses are finding new ways to spread. In years to come this could mean illnesses such as rabies are spread simply by an infected person coughing and spluttering The scientists do not know why so many viruses are mutating in this way but warn that a super-virus could emerge at any time and spread quickly across the world.”

That was nearly a quarter of a century ago! So, all Governments, including our present one, knew that this was likely to happen sooner or later. They were warned.

But we don’t always heed warnings, do we?

The Old Testament prophets were very good at issuing warnings about what would happen if people followed certain courses of action. But not all those who issued predictions of the future would later be considered as prophets of God. Not all of them would have their prophetic words retained for future generations eventually to become holy Scripture. The prophets whose words were reckoned true words from God were the ones whose predictions actually came to pass—though, more often than not, this was precisely because their warnings had not actually been heeded.

In the New Testament, Jesus also frequently issued warnings that to this day sound pretty challenging and disturbing. Here are a couple of passages to reflect on …some food for thought.

Isaiah 8: 5-18 and Luke 12