Union Ridge Church

April 1, 2020

by Reverend Dan on April 1, 2020

“Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.”

                                                            Exodus 7:4


It may be April Fool’s Day, but this is no joke.

As I watch some people continue to go through their daily routines, I realize that there are many who just don’t get how serious this pandemic is.

By the time I type the next numbers, they will have changed.  The virus is spreading that fast.  In North Carolina where I live, there have been over 1,200 confirmed cases with 6 deaths.  In the United States, there are over 150,000 confirmed cases and over 2,600 deaths.  Globally there are over 750,00 confirmed cases, and just under 40,000 deaths.  And we haven’t seen the worst.

What is so frustrating is that many people, even though they say all the right words, have an “it’ll never hit me” mentality, what a pastor friend of mine termed “hubris-American style”.   They say they understand the seriousness, but by all indications their actions do not support those words. 

There was a philosopher named George Santayana who famously said, “those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”  To that end, I invite you to reflect on the following.

In 1918, there was a pandemic known as the “Spanish Flu”.  It lasted from January 1918 to December 1920, and infected 500 million people – one-quarter of the world’s population at that time.  The death toll was in excess of 50 million people.   The reason it was called the Spanish Flu was because Spain allowed their newspapers to print news of the illness, while Germany, Great Britain, France and the United States censored the information to prevent a worldwide panic.

Following is part of an order from the Department of Public Welfare, Division of Health dated 10-15-1918.  See if any of it sounds familiar.

For the purpose of preventing a severe epidemic of Spanish Influenza, the following health regulations are hereby promulgated to continue in force and effect until further notice.

1.     All places of public congregation including churches, theatres, moving picture houses, dance halls, lodge rooms, assembly rooms, public halls, pool rooms, bowling alleys, cabarets, and all other places used for general meetings whether public or private are hereby closed.

2.     Public, parochial, and private schools, including night schools, also public libraries and art museums will close beginning midnight, Tuesday, October 15th, 1918.

3.     If there is an increase in the number of cases of Spanish Influenza, it will be necessary to issue additional restrictions covering all places where persons congregate. In order to avoid necessity for further restrictions to prevent the spread of this disease, it will be imperative for those operating stores, factories, and shops to prevent patrons and employees from loitering or congregating in groups.

4.     All public funerals and weddings are prohibited.


History does indeed cycle around, and unless we learn from it, we are doomed to repeat its mistakes and once gain needlessly live through the consequences.  The pandemic of just over a century ago lasted almost two years.  Unless we stop the spread of COVID-19 by observing all the restrictions and distancing the experts put in place, we too shall see this stretched out over a long period of time. 

One-quarter of a million people infected, over 40,000 dead already, and the numbers increase exponentially.   Before you leave the house, ask yourself, “Is it worth it?”  If not to you, at least to your children and your family.  During biblical times plaques came because Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.  I fear this time, it may not be hearts – but heads – that are hard.


“Father, Help us to honor those who govern us and heed their advice so that our land can be healed.  In Jesus’ name, AMEN.”



Rev. Dan