Practicing our faith through the times of the Coronavirus

Each day our Pastor will post a message to keep us connected while the Church is closed.

Day 78, May 30, 2020

Kipling’s timeless poem begins with the word “If.” Both the widespread fame as well as the enduring impact stand as testament that Kipling made the right choice with that simple two letter title to his epic poem. Me, I might have muddled things up and called the poem, “When.”

Each stanza in Kipling’s classic presents a “when,” a life situation that requires a response. “If” you can do this “when” such and such a circumstance comes your way, “Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it…”

Without using the same exact words, Jesus concludes The Sermon on the Mount with a similar “If” and “When” proposition. In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus says in essence, “If you hear my words and put them into practice, you will be like the wise person who builds their house on a solid rock. When the rain comes down, when the streams rise, and when the winds blow and beat against that house, it will not fall, because it has its foundation on the rock.”

With the words “If” and “When” before us today, we must note that the storms of life are not an “If” according to Jesus. The storms are a “When.” The storms will come. In a life that has not even filled sixty years (yet), my time on this earth has seen the assassinations of JFK, MLK, and RFK. There have been wars in such places as Viet Nam, the Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Earthquakes have hit all corners of the earth, as have tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, drought, famine, and pestilence. There have been nuclear meltdowns with the accompanying nuclear waste. Our personal lives are not exempt from the storms. We live in a world filled with diagnoses of cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s…announcements of divorce, trust that is broken, relationships that are shattered, loved ones who die, and dreams that are crushed. And then along comes something like the Coronavirus. The storms of life are “When”, not “If”.

Knowing full well that the storms will come, Jesus boldly says, “If you hear my words and put them into practice, you will be building your life on a rock, and that rock will hold you up. That rock will support and sustain you through all the storms of life.” I believe that. I believe in Jesus. I know that you believe in Jesus.

Beginning Monday, June 8th, you are invited to begin a daily reading program through the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew is the Gospel that has the little parable about building your life on the Rock of Jesus Christ. For eight weeks, beginning June 8th and finishing on July 31st, we will read a portion of a chapter or a whole chapter from Matthew’s Gospel. Luba is putting the finishing touches on a booklet that we will make available to anyone who wants to participate in this spiritual journey. The daily readings will take between five and ten minutes, but I hope you will linger with the particular passage, reflecting on what God’s Word means in your life, reflecting on how God might be speaking to you. We are in the middle of a storm. The storm has rocked our world. The storm has rocked our nation. The storm has rocked our church. And the storm has rocked each and every one of our lives. Where can we find strength and shelter during this storm? We find our strength and our shelter in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our Rock.

As we prepare to take one more step on a spiritual journey that draws us closer and closer to our Rock, to our Lord Jesus Christ, may these words from a well-known hymn encourage us to stay strong, to stay faithful, to stay committed, and most importantly, to stay close to Jesus.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand. (My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less, Edward Mote)

With the love of Christ,