I had a zoom call with my son in Norway last night. He asked about the election, we asked about Covid there, and he asked us if we had heard about the town in Norway that had sunk into the ground. We had not. He gave us the name Gjerdrum, and we checked up on it. (It is on the way from Oslo city center to the airport, which is a ways out.) Even in less-distracted times we might not have heard of it here, "only" three dead and three missing, a thousand evacuated, all in another country - only an interesting story of a landslide because of quick clay. But we certainly weren't going to be hearing about it now.
When we have a big story in America, we stop noticing what happens in the rest of the world. Pause for a moment to consider what clever enemies might accomplish by being ready with plans awaiting their moments, as they eventually will. We should remain hopeful that those whose job it is to keep their eye on China, on various Middle Eastern states, and even (gulp) many of our friends and allies kept their hand on the plow this week. But any hope of raising public outrage about an issue in Hong Kong or Iran is faint at present. This is not a fault unique to Americans, but common to mankind. They do it to us as well, and we do it at smaller levels when New Hampshire fails to notice whatever might be happening in Montana or Arkansas this week either.
This thought was in my mind as we tuned in for church this week and I saw the familiar faces but suddenly realised that many other previously-familiar faces had dropped out of my notice. Out of sight out of mind, true for all of us. We need cues or they slip away at the edges. I picked up the church directory and just looked at all the names one by one, a bit ashamed at how many of them I had not thought of for weeks or even months. I am wondering what the best thing is to do next, but I thought I would at leastt bring the names and faces briefly to mind. I encourage you to pick up your church directory or other list of people you have around and do the same.