It’s been 75 days since schools closed. Sixty-four days since the first stay at home order. Forty-eight days since Easter.
How’s it been going for you? There isn’t enough space here to describe the range of emotions and challenges you and others have felt over the last two months.
It’s good to hear someone’s voice in times like these. A calm, helpful voice. Hearing my members’ voices during this different time has definitely been a boost for me as a pastor. Their voices have not only been calm and helpful, their voices have been confident and cheerful. For me, another voice has been good to hear — the voice of Jesus in the Bible.
The time between Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and his ascension into heaven (40 days) was a challenging time for Jesus’ followers. They hid in their homes. They were confused by everything that had happened. Sound familiar? But things changed for them. Fear was replaced with peace. Confusion was replaced with confidence. How? The calm, helpful voice of Jesus.
The same Jesus who spoke to his first followers has spoken to us the last 40-plus days in the Gospel lessons appointed for the Sundays after Easter. It never ceases to amaze me how the appointed Scripture lessons for the Christian church can be so timely. What has Jesus said?
“Do not be afraid.” “Peace be with you.” “I am the Good Shepherd.” “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” “Because I live, you also will live.” “I am with you always to the very end of the age.” “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name.”
Perfect! That is exactly what we needed to hear! Jesus showed his first followers and he shows us that he is alive and well. Because Jesus is alive and well, we know he is with us every day, we have peace with God and we will live beyond our death in heaven. That is what we have because of Jesus and through faith in him. That is what his voice in the Bible tells us.
Maybe the best thing God has worked in us recently is the reminder that this world isn’t our real home. Jesus once said, “In this world you will have trouble.” I pray this virus is over soon. But when it is over, there will be something else that will happen in the world or in our lives or both. So, in another place, Jesus said, “I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Jesus gives us things the world cannot give. Jesus gives like no one else can. Jesus gives us peace with God knowing all our sins are forgiven. Jesus gives us a home in heaven that is perfect and not subject to all the troubling things we experience in this world.
Times like these require voices. Calm, helpful voices. Listen to Jesus’s voice in the Bible. It’s calming. It’s helpful. Believe it and you will be saved!