Notes from the church lady: World events affect but shouldn’t consume us

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20:7

Where were you on Friday, November 22, 1963, approximately 11:30 a.m. Mountain Standard Time?

I was sitting on the floor (I was home sick that day) quietly playing with my doll. My mother was looking past me at the television set while ironing curtains. The news we heard next shook our world.

To this day I can still remember every detail of that moment in time as if it happened yesterday.

A friend of mine was in a college class in London at the time she heard the news. She later told me that few Americans realize how much it affected those of other nationalities.

People were still in shock as they peered at their television screens. They had just witnessed a murder and now were hoping and praying for a miracle. It was then at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time in the city of Dallas that President John F. Kennedy was dead of a gunshot wound. Our world would never be the same again.

For those born between 1946 and 1963, the assassination of JFK marked an end of innocence, the end of Camelot. This awful day was my first introduction to death…of anyone or anything. The next few days through the funeral I was puzzled by the hushed conversations of grownups and bits and pieces I heard on the television. It took years before I fully understood this tragedy and what it meant to the country.

Today there are those who are obsessed with the assassination. They review every bit of evidence and reconstruct the events of that terrible day. There are even some who are totally consumed by their quest of what happened on that day using modern technology.

Another death occurred on the same day but went mostly unnoticed. Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis died in England and was buried without fanfare in a church cemetery in Oxford. Known for his Christian books such as “The Chronicles of Narnia,” selling more than 100 million copies leading to 3 movies based on the books.

Each generation faced a crisis that struck a blow to their world. On December 7, 1941, the United States was attacked by Japan. Almost every household was affected by this event as millions of Americans served in the military. Each family had a family member in the war or knew of someone who was serving. Through rationing each family was reminded of the war on a daily basis.

Throughout the Bible, altars were erected to remind the people of major events. Jacob went to Bethel and made an altar to acknowledge when God answered him “in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way I went.” (Genesis 35:3)

When the children of Israel crossed the Jordan to the Promised Land, God performed another miracle for them. As the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant stepped into the water, the flowing water ceased and they crossed on dry ground. Afterward, Joshua commanded 12 men, one from each tribe to gather a rock from the middle of the river to build an altar. The altar was to remind their descendants of how the Lord stopped the waters of the Jordan for them to cross on dry land.

While events in our world are bound to affect our lives, it is important that they do not consume us. We may mark anniversaries of events that shook our world, but we can’t let it overshadow all the Lord does for us. The Psalmist wrote, “I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.” (Psalm 77:11).

Remember the past but don’t remain in the past. We are merely traveling through this world on our way to our eternal home in heaven. As we continue on this journey we are told to keep our focus on the future and things to come. Paul summed it up in Colossians 3:2 (NIV) when he tells believers: “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at:

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