What Happened On Good Friday?
On Good Friday, Christians across the globe celebrate with prayer, song, and fellowship the day that Christ was crucified at Calvary; the day Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our debts, a debt we could not pay on our own.
But this Good Friday felt a little different. The response to COVID-19 stopped mass gatherings at churches. It stopped the pilgrimages, so many would have made to remind themselves of the Christ’s sacrifice. It even stopped our traditional family get-togethers.
The morning of Good Friday, I was quite angry. I drove to my office and saw the State Police out and ready to send any person making to pilgrimage to Tome Hill back home, no matter how much social distancing they are practicing on their walk.
Perhaps it was the American in me screaming about the loss of civil liberties in the name of safety. As much as it worries me, I also understand the need for such precautions.
What Does the Future Hold?
It did get me thinking though. How much lasting impact will this have on our worship beyond the holy weekend. And how would Christ want us to respond to such measures? It was in this thought that I was reminded of Jesus’s words to his followers in John chapter 16.
Jesus knew what was about to come. He had been speaking about it for the last 3 years. And now, here He was again telling His disciples that the time is now. That they must be prepared for what was to come.
However, this time Jesus was not speaking in parables and metaphors. He was precise and to the point. This caused the disciples to take notice, even proclaiming:
“Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe you are God.” (John 16:29-30).
To which Jesus replied:
“Do you now believe? A time is coming and in fact must come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone, Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:31-33)
Now, I know Jesus was not referring to the COVID-19 lockdown when He said that we would be scattered, each to our own home. But there is much we can glean from His words during this time.
What Is The Church?
First, and this is far from an original thought, the Church is not a building, but a body of people.
We are the church – no matter where we may be. Just as Jesus was warning and preparing the Apostles for the time when they would be without Him, He is also encouraging us when we face times of uncertainty.
As it stands, for many of us, this is the most uncertain time we have been placed in. Secondly, as Jesus was reassuring his closest friends, He reminded them as He had countless times that they need to fear.
So here we are. We have found ourselves in a time where we have all been scattered, each to our own homes. We are being told repeatedly not to venture out and to stay away from others. Our lives as we know it have been altered.
What Will Our Reaction Be?
This can easily lead to anger, fear, depression, and a litany of other mental and emotional stressors. Just as Jesus consoled the disciples by letting them know that though they may leave Him alone, He is not alone because the Father is with Him, we are comforted in knowing that we are not alone.
The Father is with us, as is The Son, and the Holy Spirit. Take heart! For those of us in Christ, is it not to possible that we have been called and prepared for a time such as this?
What Do We Have That Others Need?
We are blessed to live in this age where, though we may be sheltered at home, we can interact with one another through various social media. We are blessed to have at our fingertips countless sermons, worship songs, and Bibles. We are blessed because we have the Holy Spirit in us and that our sins have been forgiven because of what our Savior did.
While this Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday have been different from years past, one thing remains the same. God is Good! He sent His son to bear our burden. In Him we have peace and reassurance. In this world, we will have trouble. But we are not to fear because He has overcome the world!
What Do We Do Now?
So, rejoice and enjoy what God has given you. Pray for others. Be the neighbor you were called to be.
Rejoice for He has Risen!