Ever since we started hearing about the Coronavirus, life as we knew it started to change. Over these weeks, we have been given the opportunity to focus on what has changed or focus on what has remained the same.
As I'm writing these words on a Sunday morning, I hear the sound of horses on the road outside our house and I see the horse and buggies of our Amish neighbors on their way to church. For these individuals who place a value of "sameness" they continue to gather for Sunday morning worship. Although their schools have closed during the week, the spring weddings which are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays in our community, still continue.
I invite you to answer this question - What changes have happened in your life the past several weeks? What are you doing different? But let's go a step deeper and answer the question, What is different on the inside? What is different on the heart level? Feelings? Inner thoughts that are never expressed in words?
Invite Jesus to join you in answering these questions. Recently, my heart wanted to be present with someone. We wanted to hold their hand and pray. I imagined the picture of his hospital room and standing there with them. And as I was doing so, I began to imagine Jesus standing by the bed, holding his hand. Jesus. And as a result, I still sense a peace in my heart as I think of that picture of Jesus standing next to the bed, holding their hand.
Invite Jesus to stand by you and hold your hand as you answer the question. Imagine Jesus standing, sitting, walking with you as you think about what is different on the inside.
Two weeks from today, is Easter, or what a friend likes to refer to it - Resurrection Sunday. Ahh... Resurrection Sunday! Even the words bring a smile to my face as I type them. Even though I hear the rain drops strike the tin house roof in the side room of our house. Yes, there is a smile. Resurrection Sunday does this to one's heart. The glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. It doesn't get any better than this.
For some, as you think of possibly not gathering with the body of Christ two Sundays from now, you may feel something on the inside. Imagine Jesus standing with you. Hear the ladies words, "He is not here" as they look intently into the tomb. Jesus is not there.
What new meaning of Jesus' resurrection will come into your heart and soul as we face the possibility of not meeting with others on Resurrection Sunday? Imagine Jesus standing with you as you consider the question and are attentive to the presence of Jesus with you.
My mind goes with our brothers and sisters around the world who due to religious persecutions are not able to gather on Resurrection Sunday, or any Sunday to worship with others who believe in Jesus. Could one of the learnings that Jesus is saying to us that during this season, we get to join the persecuted church so that we can pray for them with new understanding?
How can we experience Jesus in a new way as a result of COVID-19 and Resurrection Sunday? What is Jesus wanting to show us? What can we learn about God during this season?
These questions have caused me to focus not so much on what is being taken away from us, to instead focus on what is being given to us. What new truth, what new understanding of God, what new experience of God's attributes am I now able to truly know in my heart because I experience God in a totally new way.
Yes, these days are difficult. However, God is able to redeem these days as Jesus is standing next to us, as Jesus is sitting with us, and as Jesus is walking with us.
Jesus is present and we experience His presence in new ways as we live and die as people who are strangers to this world on our way to the time when we will be able to see Jesus face to face and worship Him.