Holy Week Day 4
The church Council met again last evening, and the Deacons on Monday, both over Zoom. There is much business to discuss as we learn more about how to run a church remotely. The Council continues to be grateful for the way church members are pulling together and supporting one another during this trying time. Discussion items included Sunday worship, preaching, COA updates, offerings, our refugee family, Classis matters, summer camp, pastoral care, and needs of the food bank users. Even with that, we made time to check in on one other and share prayer needs. Please refer to this week’s bulletin for further details of output from these meetings.
As you walk through the gospels in the week of Jesus’ passion, you notice they contain a vast portion of the Jesus’ recorded words. One example is a section which most of us don’t read very often, but which fills all of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. Clearly Jesus had a message that he wanted to deliver before his death. All three chapters start the same way – Jesus foretells the destruction of Jerusalem and of the Temple. “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down” (Mark 13:2). Then he tells them of a time of great tribulation, when all his followers from Judea would be scattered. He cautioned the disciples, “if anyone says to you at that time, ‘Look! Here is the Messiah!’ or ‘Look! There he is!’—do not believe it” (Mark 13:21). But the disturbing predictions end with glorious hope, because Jesus will come again: “Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory” (Mark 13:26). He goes on, “Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come” (Mk 13:33).
Click here to start this song, then as it plays go to the window; look up at sky and pray, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come.”
We are not in a time of great tribulation. We are in a time of preparation. No one ever said it would be easy. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus.
Jesus concludes, “What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
Bill vG shared this prayer by Neal Plantinga:
Gracious God, Champion of the Universe, we so often fluff ourselves up. Aren’t we the only creatures who compose masterpieces of music and art? Don’t we govern ourselves, enrich ourselves, promote ourselves? Can’t we dunk basketballs, bat baseballs, spike volleyballs? Aren’t some of us masters of comic irony? Other creatures don’t practice rocket science. We do.
And yet. Here we are, frightened by a thing so small it can’t be seen under most microscopes. It’s not even an animal or a plant. It’s a virus, a mere parasite, dependent on our own living cells to replicate. And yet it has shuttered our schools, canceled our flights, and emptied our churches. It has consumed the attention of our leading scientists, wrenched our politics out of shape, dominated our conversations, and scared the daylights out of us.
We don’t want to get sick. And we don’t want to die.
We are afraid, O God. Afraid of a microorganism. Afraid of each other.
Great and quiet source of peace, quiet our fears. We are wary, uncertain, strung tight. Quiet our fears. We have no idea what the future will bring, but we do know you will be in our future to hold us there. We cannot quiet ourselves, O God. We cannot comfort ourselves, cannot heal ourselves, cannot help ourselves. All we can do is wash our hands and keep our distance. Our rocket science is no good to us for this threat.
O God, great and quiet source of peace, quiet us, your anxious ones, and let us cling for comfort to your suffering Son, Jesus Christ. Gather us under his wings. Remind us that he suffers with us, but he's also the great physician. In him, let us not be afraid. Please, let us not be afraid.
In closing, let’s pray together as Jesus taught us to 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.
Click here for a recorded blessing to take with you today.