As we approach the celebration of Easter in the Christian community, I am reminded that years ago Tony Campolo, a well-known American sociologist, pastor and author, gave a famous sermon entitled, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Coming.” In summary, It’s Friday, Jesus has been nailed to the cross and is dying. His mother Mary is standing at his feet looking at her son and his anguish. It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming. On Sunday, Jesus will rise from the dead, ascend into heaven, and provide salvation to humanity. It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.
All of us have had Fridays in our lives when a crisis left us in shock, unsure of what to do. On these Fridays, we need to have hope that Sunday is coming.
As we face the health and economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic, it’s Friday. Hundreds of thousands are ill, and thousands have died. Our fear is that thousands more, perhaps millions, will become ill and many more will die. This has caused governments, businesses, schools, religious organizations and others to take extreme actions to protect public health, and these have caused major disruptions in our economy. It feels like a fearful Friday. We need to have hope that Sunday is coming.
The underlying fact is that we have an excellent medical community. We have outstanding medical professionals who can guide us to recovery. Almost 75,000 of those who have had this disease already have recovered. A vaccine to combat the coronavirus could become available by next year. This situation almost certainly will worsen in the short term. But we will learn from this experience and do much better in the future.
Similarly, the fundamentals of our economy are strong. Most businesses were profitable in 2019, the unemployment rate was extremely low prior to the crisis, and the banking industry is stronger than ever. We have not experienced the hyper-inflation we did in the 1970s that led to the economic collapse of the 1980s. We are well positioned to experience a short-term interruption in business.
The economy will recover. Business managers will be stronger and better able to build dynamic companies. Consumers will become better at using technology, which is essential in this digital age.
Communities are pulling together. This is an opportunity for friends, families and neighbors to help take care of one another. As people of faith, we need to remember Paul’s teaching, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” So, focus on loving God and looking for the work he has for you to do in this situation. It certainly includes loving your neighbors.
As we approach Easter, let us remember that on Friday 2,000 years ago, there was great pain and sorrow … but Sunday was coming. Jesus did rise again and sent His spirit to guide us to better lives. As we face our current crisis, it may seem like Friday, but let us have faith that Sunday’s coming! May God bless you and keep you now and always.
Tom Bennett Jr. is chairman and co-CEO of First Oklahoma Bank.