The Lone Ranger and Toronto

(An Essay on Plague and Disaster)

E. Scott Souza, April 2020

     From Toronto to Tierra del Fuego, and from Taipei to Timbuktu, a ragged, microscopic X has been drawn across the globe.

     But in "those thrilling days of yesteryear" the world was a different place. On the radio and in the TV lived a "daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains," a man called The Lone Ranger.

     Today ... however ... we look about and we see people who are 'cowering and resourceless masked riders of the couch.'

     Confidence is receding. With Matthew Arnold, we hear "Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar."

     We will be saved by inoculation in a year or two, won't we? Or perhaps next month all will be well if we just go back to work. Somehow, our daring and resourceful people will rescue us. The human spirit and the human frame will rise … unless other problems rise and "unmerciful Disaster Follows fast and follows faster."

     It is April now. Spring has come back "with rustling shade. And apple-blossoms fill the air." Do we have a rendezvous with our appointed time this month or next?

     For two weeks, the thing that comes among us wears a mask. Symptomless and subtle, at first, it progresses rapidly when it unmasks itself. We fall before it. Some never rise.

     Some years ago, another "masked" figure came among us, "veiled in flesh." "Yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted." Nevertheless, "he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them." This salvation is both spiritual and physical. It provides safety, and it provides a fail-safe.

     Martha, had a brother, Lazarus, who had been dead for four days and had begun to decay: Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die."

     Safety had failed. But the fail-safe had not. In the same hour in which Jesus spoke these words to Martha, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Moreover, Jesus promises complete restoration, down to the last detail: "not a hair of your head will perish." And beyond these things, indeed, far beyond them, is glorification which raises us to a level surpassing anything on earth: "We shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is."

     Those who must be undone by the inexorable decree of God, can nevertheless be re-done by a Savior like no other. It is he alone who has the power to "deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery."

     Therefore, "Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."