Right when I thought I had heard every crazy thing possible with regard to COVID 19, a few weeks ago I read a mind-numbing article online pertaining to an amusement park in Japan. According to the article, this amusement park began telling patrons that they had to wear a mask at all times and especially while riding the roller-coaster. They posted a sign at the beginning of the ride which read: “IF YOU FEEL THE NEED TO SCREAM, YOU MUST SCREAM IN YOUR HEART, NOT OUT LOUD”.
Apparently, they had done some research that revealed that a human scream sends personal contaminants into the atmosphere as if projected by a rocket-launcher. Therefore, no screaming would be allowed on the roller coaster.
First of all, isn’t that sort of the point of riding a roller coaster? Do you even want to bother investing precious time in the effort to ride a roller coaster that doesn’t evoke the feeling that you want to scream? Imagine a sign posted outside of a haunted house this October that declared the experience a “Scream-Free Zone”. This experience is designed to scare the %$#*!!! out of you but if you scream you will be escorted off the premises immediately! Think of the poor guy in the hockey mask, holding the noisy chain saw. This is his big moment on stage! His one opportunity to be a celebrity! He receives glory when he can jump out from behind the hay bail and cause a young girl to scream at the top of her lungs. A night full of patrons who scream in their hearts is going to leave this poor guy feeling like an abysmal failure. He is going to need counseling after that experience.
Second, and more important, isn’t this a picture of so many people in our world today? They are wearing a mask that hides their true emotions. They are “screaming in their hearts” because screaming out loud might cause a scene. It might make them look weak. And the real fear is that they might reveal the pain they live with every day only to discover that no one really cares anyway. They have just let out a scream of pent-up pain and disappointment only to see blank stares and looks of disapproval coming back at them.
Here is where we (followers of Christ) come in. We get the privilege of telling them about the “Good Shepherd” who loves them and provides everything they need for this life and the one to come, (John 10). We get to encourage them to “cast all their cares upon Him”, because He cares with an authentic compassion, (Psalm 55; Nahum 1:7; 1 Peter 5:7).
God’s message to us is “take off the mask…enjoy the ride! If you feel the need to scream let it out! I understand. I care. I won’t judge you. I won’t reject you. I won’t criticize you. I will listen with ears of empathy. I will provide the safe place you need to be who you are and to share what you feel…no judgement!” AMEN?
As you pray today, think of those in your sphere of influence who are in pain but don’t feel free to let it out. Pray that the God of peace and comfort will prove a safe place for them to cry out in authentic honesty.
✍️ Credit :: Jerry Jones
Pastor of Care Ministries
📸 Credit :: Matt Rhodes
🎨 Credit :: Matt Rhodes
Creative Associate Director