It's Lent, when the Christian world prepares for Easter, the celebration of the defeat of death by Jesus Christ. Yet we're surrounded by talk of sickness and death. Truly, there is a sickness on the land. It is deadly. It causes life to be hard, labored & meaningless. It is 100% deadly & makes the Wuhan Flu/Covid 19 look trivial. The Bible calls it sin. Because of sin, many reject Easter because they've rejected Jesus. On the surface, it seems simpler to some. They decide what's important, how to behave, how others should behave, & what to value. They believe they answer to nobody and for nothing except, that they are the final authority. It's small-minded, they say, to think that there's only one truth. These people who've rejected Jesus have essentially decided that they themselves are God. In essence they believe they can make their own realities. This belief is severely challenged when it's painfully obvious that people have little or no control over their situation. Or health. Especially when faced with a possibility of death. Then there is a terror of death even though it is, to paraphrase Mark Twain, the only eventuality besides taxes. So then, to a world-centered person without Jesus as savior, death is the worst thing that can happen to anyone, even though all are guaranteed to experience it --at least once. And so this is where the fear of a virus becomes terrifying--because it challenges the idea that they are in control. I see that there is Good that can come from this--sequestered life. There are political things. American self-reliance was originally founded in relying on God & the eternal victory He gives. Granted, many look to the government to help (I'm reminded of the Ron Reagan joke about the 9 most terrifying words, “I'm from the government and I'm here to help”). Others see government to have messed up the response. Many look at government ordering people around like a Nanny-State on steroids & fear government more than the virus. Clearly, many in government see this time as an unprecedented opportunity to consolidate or assume powers not given by the Constitution. The danger from this illness will pass. But historically, governments aren't good about giving up power once gained. Will this be recognized and responded to--or not? As time with family increases, families can become stronger & do things together--I hope. Maybe families will even realize that the former flurry of events may not be best for socializing in a meaningful sense. Realize that time alone is very good--if wisely spent (Bible, prayer, church). Companies will realize people can work from home (save time & gas). Best of all with mortal danger blared on every form of media, people may think more about Eternity! Which means that this is an opportunity to convey peace like we have not seen. Christianity has the answer for such times. In fact, one of the fruits of the Spirit is peace. The phrase “Do not fear” occurs over 300 times in the Bible. As followers of Christ, we should have an attitude of peace. Our trust in God should be even more evident when everyone else is freaking out. So, Christians should have no part in this pandemic pandemonium. Take sensible steps to avoid contracting or spreading disease? Wear a mask if you want, wash your hands when you get home? Certainly. But constant fear for our lives? No. Look to government to save us from death? Definitely not. Shun others because they aren't taking measures I want them to? Matthew chapter 6, Jesus says, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Christ does not want us to panic. We have opportunities during this time to model--and speak of--the Christian difference and to demonstrate how this gospel of ours gives a better life than any other. So, the one thing we should not give up is sharing that Easter will happen with or without pandemic. That it's infinitely more than bunnies & chocolate. The timing is compassionate & right. Because of Easter, with faith in Jesus as Lord, anybody can know a new start & have meaning in life right now without fear in this existence or the next. With peace. With joy. With confidence. The best response to pandemic & even pandemonium--is Easter.
No Jesus, know fear. Know Jesus, NO fear. Pastor Geoff Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27