The church Council met last night, and the Committee of Administration meets tonight, as both groups continue to work through the many issues arising from this pandemic. There is no shortage of things to address, but the church is well managed and all is being handled with the grace that you would expect. Thank you for your prayers for both meetings.
So then the Jewish leaders responded, “What sign can you show us, since you are doing these things?” Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.” Then the Jewish leaders said to him, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and are you going to raise it up in three days?” But Jesus was speaking about the temple of his body. So after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the saying that Jesus had spoken (John 2:18-22, New English Translation).
My heart was heavy as I began writing this blog yesterday, because at the same time we were preparing the congregational email regarding COVID-19 at Holland Christian Homes' Grace Manor. (You can check their daily COVID-19 updates on the HCH website.) We continue pray for the residents and staff of HCH, and knowing that God alone can stop the spread of the virus, we call on him to do so.
Then I turn my attention to our hymn for today, The Strife Is O'er, The Battle Done! and my spirits soar. For Christ has already defeated death, the victory is assured because the victory is his!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
The strife is o’er, the battle done;
The victory of life is won;
The song of triumph has begun:
The pow’rs of death have done their worst;
But Christ their legions has dispersed;
Let shouts of holy joy outburst:
The three sad days are quickly sped;
He rises glorious from the dead;
All glory to our risen Head:
He closed the yawning gates of hell;
The bars from heav’n’s high portals fell;
Let hymns of praise His triumphs tell:
Lord, by the stripes which wounded thee,
from death's dread sting thy servants free,
that we may live and sing to thee.
(That recording is another example of amazing things people are doing in this pandemic. It combines nearly 800 submissions from more than 600 participants all around the world into one choir of praise!)
We do not pretend that life is all beauty. We are aware of darkness and sin, of poverty and pain. But we know Jesus has conquered sin and passed through his own pain to the glory of the Resurrection. And we live in the light of his Paschal Mystery – the mystery of his Death and Resurrection. We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song! (Pope John Paul II)
Let's pray: Lord Jesus, you have been raised from the dead, and we believe the Scripture and the words you have spoken. Give us courage and faith for this day, we pray.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
I’m repeating the blessing we used yesterday for you to listen to again.
PS – Don’t forget, “online office hours” launched yesterday. Online office hours are Tue-Fri, 11-noon, and 1-2pm. Drop by for a chat, using this computer link.
PSS – For those of you who would like some choir music, do check out last Saturday’s Elbow Bump, it also contains a great choir piece which you can go back and listen to on this web page. And Gera just shared this link for Nederland Zingt Special: Geestelijke liederen which I know some of you will enjoy!