Our view: Today, focus on all that’s good in life

Herald pull quote, 4/12/2020

A reminder to readers: It’s Easter Sunday.

As the coronavirus pandemic occupies so much of our thinking, some might actually need a reminder that today is an especially holy day. Lately, it’s hard to remember even what day of the week it is.

For three consecutive Sundays, the Herald has published words of encouragement from pastors and representatives of numerous churches and denominations in Greater Grand Forks. It’s a bit of a curveball, since the opinion page traditionally is reserved for editorials and thoughts on issues of the day. Meanwhile, we typically relegate religious news, notes and sermons to a dedicated religion page once per week.

But these are different times, and a few encouraging and reassuring words seem very much in order.

The fact that these sermonettes have published in the weeks leading up to, and on, Easter Sunday – and during Passover, which is April 8-16 – is sheer coincidence.


But in retrospect, the timing is perfect.

A few examples of comments submitted over the past three weeks:

From Paul Knight at Hope Church: “(God), during this time of crisis and fear, please bring the light of your presence and help us focus on your love, your care and your presence.”

From Dan Antal at Trinity Free Lutheran Church: “God is not distant from our suffering. He does not sit idly in the heavens.”

From Jeff Stephan of Bethel Lutheran Church: “Where there is fear bring faith, where there is doubt bring hope!”

From Mike Foltz of Sacred Heart in East Grand Forks: “As Christians, we are never without hope.”

From Jeffrey Powell, of B’nai Israel Synagogue: “Because we are all created in the image of God, we pray for those afflicted to find healing and for those who experience loss to be comforted.”

And from Nathan Johnson, of Freedom Church: “What would happen if rather than focusing on the what-ifs and on the uncertainties of our present scenario, we started to focus on the certainties? What if we focused more on what we do have, what we do know and on what we do understand? … I encourage you to begin to simply focus on the blessings you have knowing God is with you.”


Johnson’s words resonate.

What would happen if we spent a day – today, perhaps – focusing on our blessings rather than the dismal realities of the worldwide pandemic and the woes it has brought in the form of death, illness, unemployment and economic misfortune?

What if today, we spend our time focusing on the good health of ourselves, our families and our friends? What if we take a few moments to wish for a better day for someone who is sick?

And what if, for a day, we not concentrate on our own misgivings about sheltering in place and instead think of those families who have suffered real tragedy – more than just the depressing nature of social distancing – during this pandemic?

Remember, it’s Easter, and it’s Passover.

We’re alive. Most of us are healthy. The pandemic is bad, but it’s not as bad here as it is elsewhere.

As Pastor Nathan Johnson suggests, let’s count our blessings today.

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