Monday Musings for 4.20.20
The Bible was written a long time ago. But the Bible reads like it was written today. Whatever we are facing, the Bible has something to say that is spot on timely and relevant.
I was reminded of this last week when Graham Sourgen sent a message to the parents and teachers in our Sunday school. He shared with them I Thessalonians 2:17-20.
“But brothers and sisters, when we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. For we wanted to come to you — certainly I Paul did, again and again — but Satan stopped us. For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.”
I’m pretty sure Paul was not predicting the 2020 novel coronavirus. But Paul knew what it felt like to be going through what we are going through, because unforeseen circumstances prevented him from being physically present with his dear friends in Thessalonica. He missed them. He told them so. And so his words written long ago fit perfectly with what we would want to say to each other during this time.
Much of the Old Testament is the about the Babylonian exile. For the Jewish people, this was the end of life as they knew it. There was terrible loss of life. Many of those who survived now found themselves in a strange new land. It seemed like the end of the world. But there were prophets like Jeremiah who kept hope alive.
There is that verse I mentioned in my sermon yesterday, Jeremiah 29:11.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.”
Then, two chapters later:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love . . . I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful. Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria . . . Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:3-5, 13
And of course the greatest Bible story of all is the one that speaks most powerfully to us in these days. Indeed, whenever we walk through dark and difficult days, we remember those three days in the life of Jesus that changed the world. He was nailed to a cross. His body was buried. And then he rose from the dead!
The Resurrection happened long ago. But the Resurrection still happens! It will happen again, as we return from our social isolation, businesses re-open, we come back to church, our “at-risk” population no longer lives in fear, and the 2020 coronavirus pandemic becomes a distant memory.