KING COLUMN: Is This Another Plague of Locust?

Published 11:30 am Tuesday, May 14, 2024

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What has six legs, two antennae, two pairs of wings, a beak for drinking, large eyes that can be red, white, or blue, (they sound patriotic, don’t they?), transparent wings that can appear to be rainbow colored, and sings? No, it’s not your older sister! She can’t sing! You may or may not have seen, and even more so, heard, thousands of them lately. Yes, I’m talking about our loud little singing visitors called cicadas. Scientist have been telling us for quite some time they were coming. They are here…lots of them. Experts and entomologists tell us there will be billions of them in the eastern part of our nation this summer. First, we had the coronavirus pandemic and now we have the cicada pandemic! Maybe scientist will come up with a cicada’s vaccine…for us, not them!

Strangely, they don’t seem to be everywhere, at least not yet. I don’t have many at my house in Opelika, but in Lanette, thirty minutes to the northeast, where I serve as pastor, they are everywhere. At first, the woods across the road from the church was full of them. Last week they even came to church. In fact, I think there may have been more of them than there was of us. They weren’t content to just hang out in the parking lot, but several of them tried to come inside. At Lanier Baptist Church we say anybody and everybody is welcome, and we mean it, but I’m not so sure about this swarm of cicadas! They fly up in your face, they don’t tithe, and they won’t hush and be quiet. I’ve known a few church members in my lifetime like that, but, of course, not at our current church. This bunch of bugs are also like a few church members I’ve known in that they haven’t been here for 17 years. They weren’t dead, just hiding underground until they woke up and decided to emerge. I’m talking about the cicadas, not awol church members. The good news is that they won’t stay long, just a few weeks and we won’t see or hear them anymore. (No, I’m still talking about the cicadas). The cicadas have provided our special music for several weeks now, and boy, can they sing! When they get the full cicada choir cranked up you can hear them loud and clear even while driving down the road. They all sing the same song, in unison, and I haven’t heard a single one of them sing off key. If any of you suffer from tinnitus, that irritating nonstop ringing in the ears, I think the cicadas may be the answer to our problem. At least with them around, we don’t notice the ringing as much!

I’m kind of beginning to understand how the Pharoah in the days of Moses felt. I’m even beginning to have a little sympathy for him. I certainly have a better understanding of why he let Moses’ people go. He may have said something like, “Just make them hush” to Moses.

Actually, cicadas are not locust. They are a different species of insects. There is some good news about cicadas. They don’t devour crops like locusts have been known to do. They don’t eat up our houses like termites or powder-post beetles. They don’t sting or bite like bees or wasps do. They just fly around and sing. Maybe we could get them a tryout for The Voice or American Idol next time, but then most of them won’t be back around for another 17 years, so just enjoy the music while they’re here.