Dear Church Family,
100,000 dead. Or will it be 240,000? Or a million? Or two million?
We’re a couple weeks into a semi-quarantine, like grounded teens, and it won’t end until April 24th. Or maybe the 30th. Schools could reopen after April 24…or maybe not. Those of us whose jobs have been lost because of mandatory business closings can only look forward to going back to work after restrictions are lifted…or not; not all businesses will survive these times. The stock market is pretty much a goat rope right now, flailing wildly in a storm of economic uncertainty, like one of those inflatable tube men. Have I missed anything?
Probably, but you get the picture: people are dying. Life is a mess, and, appropriately enough, the novel coronavirus is bringing us face to face with totally novel circumstances. We are struggling to figure out how to behave in this snow globe of a world, and then successfully impart those new mores to our fellow citizens. We are grinding our mental and emotional gears trying to find certainty in the midst of chaos, predictability in a world that increasingly seems to be run by a random number generator. We long for certainty…something that seems to be, as a character on Firefly once said, “A long wait for a train don’t come.”
Almost two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ showed us the utter certainty of God’s love, grace, and forgiveness when he poured out his life on the lonely slopes of Golgotha so that we—generations yet unborn—would be capable of salvation in spite of everything we’ve done.
Mistreat one another, ravage the planet, substitute our wants and needs for God’s? All forgiven, if we will just accept Jesus as our savior. Our risen savior.
We do not have to earn salvation, nor can we purchase it, any more than we can purchase any other gift that’s already been given to us. We need only trust the certainty that it’s there, and then—as grateful recipients and faithful servants–embrace the grace of God and enter into God’s Kingdom.
In a world where virtually nothing seems certain, this is a blessing and a cornerstone on which we can build. If we do our share, we can bring some order to the chaos by creating additional certainty—certainty that when someone is hurting, there is someone to comfort them; when someone is struggling, there is someone to help them; and when someone is frightened, there is someone to remind them that this, too, will pass. Given what Christ has tried to teach us for a couple of thousand years now, I think this is a task tailor made for us.
So as the world shifts and changes beneath our feet, we can find and hold onto the certainty of grace—and build on that to show others the certainty of hope. Rather than worry, we can show what life in the Kingdom is all about by standing ready to help others, whether it’s with a word, or a shoulder, or a helping hand. As Lent ends and Easter looms, let’s face the world with one question: Who have we helped today? Who have we encouraged?
To whom have we shown the certainty of God’s unwavering love?
See you online, and see you in church one day soon—that, too, is a certainty.
Peace and health,
(Earlier A Word from the Pastor messages may be found in Newsletters.)