Union Ridge Church

April 15, 2020

by Reverend Dan on April 15, 2020

“Truly I say to you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there’, and it will move.  Nothing is impossible for you.”

                                                                                                Matthew 17:20


I was watching the History Channel the other night (let’s all say it together – “GEEK”) and the show was about all the nuclear testing that took place in the early 1950’s as the Cold War was ramping up.  They were using terms like “kiloton” and “megaton” and I had no idea what they were talking about.  So, I looked them up.  (Even though I’m going to continue writing about them like I understood what I read, I really didn’t.)  Here’s the best comparison I could come up with to understand how powerful and large those bombs were.


“Kiloton” and “Megaton” are the amount of energy released and exerted in an explosion in terms of tons of TNT.  Some occur in nature.

A cyclone releases the equivalent of 8.6 megatons of TNT every minute.

The 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens released the equivalent of 24 megatons of TNT.


And then there are the man-made ones.

The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima exploded with an energy of 15 kilotons of TNT.

The atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki exploded with an energy of 20 kilotons of TNT.

A modern hydrogen bomb would explode with 50-100 megatons of TNT.

And that’s not counting the millions of dollars’ worth of resources and time it would take to research, test and engage those weapons of mass destruction, or the accompanying fear it produces.


Remember back in the 1950’s and 1960’s when there were signs for a fallout shelter in case of a nuclear attack?  (They had those three yellow triangles upside down on a black background.)  Remember the drills to get under your desks in school?  (Like that would have helped.)  Remember people building underground shelters for their families?  (The TV show “Happy Days” had an episode about that. So did “The Twilight Zone”.)  All those things were done in response to the megaton amounts of TNT and radioactivity that would obliterate the world.


Now consider this.  The coronavirus is a 1.25 Nanometer sphere. 

1 nanometer is 0.000001 of a millimeter.

1 millimeter is 0.04 of an inch.

That means in physical size, a coronavirus germ is equal to one-billionth of a yardstick.

And it cost nothing to produce or spread - something as innocuous as a sneeze or getting to close to someone is all it takes.  But the fear is just as palpable.


Here’s my point in this science lesson.  We have worried for decades about an atomic war and thank God, it has never happened.  All those megatons of power sitting waiting to take its ugly toll on the world.  But a tiny little sphere that looks like a ball with spikes on it has paralyzed most of the world and caused a major run on toilet paper. 

As I pondered this, I realized a new understanding of today’s scripture.  It’s not power that has changed the world recently, it’s a little unseen virus.  Now, since that little virus can spread and wreak such havoc, maybe the opposite of that is true as well.  Maybe faith – even as small as a mustard seed – is a powerful and world-changing thing if we spread it. 

We all have a choice.  In twenty or fifty years, we can still be talking about how contagious COVID-19 was, or we can refocus amid the crisis and let history talk about how contagious our faith was during this time, and how it changed the world. 


“Father, Open our hearts to the contagious effect of Your love.  In Jesus’ name, AMEN.”



Rev. Dan