Today is Good Friday. But every day for the last several weeks has felt a bit like Good Friday. We watch the death toll rise and we stay inside. We pray with deeper fervor. We fear what will happen next to the economy and the ones we love. We wonder when good times will return.
The gospel of Matthew begins with a story of an angel announcing a birth and saying, “Be not afraid,” and it ends with the only other story of an angel in Matthew, this one in a cemetery announcing, “Be not afraid.” And in between, we often hear Jesus say, “Fear not.” This Sunday, I’ll talk about how Fear and Joy might go together.
I had the chance to meet via video conference with a group of young parents in our church this week. I heard stories of furloughs and economic pressure. I saw in their faces the weariness that comes with working full time from home while homeschooling and running a daily entertainment center for active little ones. I’ve also visited with many of our senior adult members in their 90s. It is hard on them too. Hard to lose social contact and human hugs. Hard to get groceries and complete doctor visits.
One of the best Easter sermons I ever heard was “Wait Three Days.” The idea is that many of the problems we face in life begin to resolve if we will but wait three days. But this three-day wait has stretched into 30 days, maybe 60, maybe more. And so the wait drags on. But maybe Good Friday is actually more meaningful this year than ever before. And the longing for Easter more real. For this year, we know that in whatever mood we find ourselves, the God of all of life has traveled that way too, has faced ultimate despair and enters now into ours.
“So take up your cross and walk the thorn way. And if a sponge of vinegar be handed to you on a spear, take that too. The soul is woven of endurance. God knows.” Charles (aka Carl) Sandberg.
Blessings on you during this season of endurance. I pray that it is weaving your soul in the ways of love. I look forward to seeing you on Easter morning at 9:01, 10:00 or 11:00 a.m.
Grace and peace,