March 17, 2020
still in the season of Lent.
We began Lent on Ash Wednesday,
just four weeks ago. At our Ash Wednesday service, we talked about the prophet
Joel’s defining moment. The people of Israel had been hit by a plague of
locusts. They were an agriculture based society, and their farms and fields had
been stripped bare by swarming locusts. As you can imagine, this was a national
catastrophe. And the prophet Joel responded to this time of chaos by calling
the people of Israel to repent. That is, the people of Israel were called to
change their hearts and lives, to turn from wrong ways of living and embrace
God’s way of living.
let me be clear. Joel did not say that the Israelites caused the plague of locusts. Sometimes natural disasters
happen that are nobody’s fault, and sometimes, even the best people have a hard
time figuring out what to do when disasters happen. Yet, when they faced this
disaster of the locust, the prophet Joel called the people of Israel to repent.
When the prophet Joel and the Israelites faced a defining moment, they chose to
turn to God and to recommit themselves to God. In the face of disaster, they
were not without choice. And they chose to humble themselves before God and to
seek God’s will and follow God’s teachings.
encourages me, even as we as a nation and church discern how we are to respond
to the Covid-19 virus. We are people who
still have a choice. We can choose to turn to God. We can choose to trust in
God. We can choose to recommit our lives to God. This is a defining moment for
past Sunday, our president called for a National Day of Prayer. We are to pray
for God’s protection and strength for ourselves and for our country. But prayer
is more than just asking God for help. Prayer also involves our repentance, our
acknowledging to God where we have fallen short of being the people we are
meant to be. It also involves our asking God for forgiveness and asking God for
grace to live more faithfully.
still in Lent, and in a way, our whole nation is now observing Lent. We are
being called to give things up and to make sacrifices. In the past, God proved
faithful to the people of Israel, and God will continue prove faithful to us in
the future. Now, we are given a time to reflect on our priorities and refocus
Our goal as a church is to continue
to provide you with resources to help you connect with God. Today, I ask you, “How
is God calling you to refocus on God through your prayers? How is God calling
you to change your priorities?
The ashes we placed on our
foreheads at the beginning of Lent were to remind us of our mortality. The news
of the Corona virus also reminds us of our mortality. The awareness of our
mortality is nothing new. It is a part of being human. Genesis 3:19 says that
we are from dust and from dust we shall return. The church throughout its
history had to deal with plagues and illness, and throughout its history, the
church used these times to step forward in ministry with the sick and the vulnerable.
hope, because death is never God’s last word to us, because “the Spirit of him
who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us and will give life to our mortal
bodies also even after we die” (Romans 8:11). One of our affirmations of faith
is “Dying, Christ destroyed our death. Rising, Christ restored our life. Christ
will come again in glory.” Even in the face of death, we remain Easter people,
people who are confident in God’s power to give life.
as we struggle with this pandemic, we are still heading towards Easter, the
wonderful celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection and the celebration that
God gives life. Especially now, during this Lent—during this time of
uncertainty—we are still called to affirm the power of Christ’s resurrection
and the power of God to give life.
can we share that life with others, even now? Even when we can’t see them in
there is a neighbor, a friend that you can reach out to with a phone call to
share hope and life. Perhaps, if you are young and able, you can run errands at
the supermarket for someone who has to self-quarantine.
don’t yet know what will happen in the next few weeks. We know that we are
still in Lent. We know we are in a season when we give up things, and we know
we are in a season of repentance. And best of all, we know the promise of Psalm
34:17, “When the righteous cry out, the Lord listens: he delivers them from all
So even though won’t be having
onsite worship here at Trinity through the end of March, we will still be able
to worship through online communication and through other resources that we
will provide for you. We will keep you informed of our plans. Keep checking our
Facebook page and our emails to find out what will happen. I will post weekly
messages on our website under “Pastor’s Blog.”
Keep remembering what Jesus said, “Peace
I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world
gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” (John