Isolated and Afraid
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Doubt, darkness and despair are everywhere. Fear fills the air like oppressive summer humidity. “What does the future hold for me?” “Will I be the next one to die?” “Will I be able to return to the work I was doing before this happened?” “Has my trust in Jesus been misplaced?” “How could God allow this to happen?” These may sound like our thoughts as we cope with this pandemic, but the words above describe the feelings of the Apostles immediately following Jesus’ death and the questions that were likely swirling through their minds. Has the Corona virus afforded us a unique opportunity to share in the Apostles’ experience in the Upper Room? Please read more….
One minute, everything was going along fine. Everything was looking up. Jesus had just made His triumphant return to Jerusalem. Suddenly, the hosannas grew silent. Jesus had been tortured and put to death. His body was lying in a tomb. The one whom the disciples thought was their Messiah was now gone. Their dreams, their hope and their faith had been dashed. Their Passover was filled with grief. Now, they were stunned, shocked, isolated, alone and huddled in fear behind locked doors. Jesus’ death left them lost and confused. These were dark days for the Apostles.
Take a couple of minutes to listen to this powerful song
Just a few short weeks ago our world was a much different place. The worldwide economy was strong. Unemployment was at an all-time low. Many people enjoyed prosperity. Optimism abounded. Then, in a flash, the covid-19 virus spread and the world came to a screeching halt. Sickness and death are everywhere, markets have crashed, jobs have been cut, all seems lost; and now, we are huddled at home behind closed doors. Does this sound eerily familiar?
Christians around the world are being forced to adapt to the unusual situation of having their churches closed during Holy Week. I want to offer a suggestion. Take time this week to reflect on the passion narratives. As you do, try placing yourself into the story as one of the Apostles. Which one are you most like? Are you the one who betrays Him, the one who denies Him, one of the ones who scatters and hides, the one who doubts, or like John, are you the one who stays close to Him on His road to Calvary?
Yes, this Corona pandemic is tragic, but like most tragedies, if you look hard enough you can find something good that can come out of it. This year, with our church doors closed, we have the symbolic opportunity to be locked in the Upper Room with the Apostles. Let’s make the most of this occasion.
Pope Francis recently addressed the world concerning this pandemic. He reminded everyone that when the Apostles were filled with fear as their boat was being tossed by the storm, Jesus was sleeping. The disciples woke Him and said, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” Maybe you have prayed those words during this crisis too. Some might think He is sleeping through this pandemic. After waking, Jesus said, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith? Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm.” Jesus was giving His Apostles and all of us a lesson. We need to place our trust in Him.
For many Christians, this will undoubtedly be the most unusual Holy Week ever. Almost no one will be going to church. Christians who normally would be praying in church on Good Friday will be at home. The doors of our churches will be closed on Easter. Metaphorically, we will be here in our upper room.
Unlike the Apostles, you and I have a unique perspective. We have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. We know how the story ends. We know that Jesus brought light to the darkness and opened the gates of Heaven when He rose on the third day.
In last week’s Gospel reading, after raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus said, “UNTIE HIM!” Let’s face it, we all get bound up in life by something. Right now, it might be the virus. Throughout our lives we become bound by many things, including our recurring sins, addictions, and our rebellious ways. Our troubles, trials and grief can also bind us to despair. Next weekend we will celebrate Easter. On Easter, Jesus offers to unbind us. We need to unite our life, our faith and our hope in Jesus. He gives us the assurance that these troubled times will one day end. We also live in the joy of knowing that we will one day rise from the dead and enjoy life everlasting with the Father.
Let’s make the best use out of our isolation in the upper room!
Heavenly Father draw me deeper into the events of Holy Week as I spend time in Your Holy Word. I look forward with anticipation to the Joy of Easter Sunday, amen.
As always, I love to read your comments below as well as hear from you personally by clicking here.
A SPECIAL NOTE
I will be sending out a special 4th day video message on Easter Sunday. Please watch for it.
- Choosing To Be Orphans - June 4, 2023
- Competing Voices - May 28, 2023
- Sharing His Kingship - May 21, 2023
( And friends at St. Edwards Bowie)
We all need to see the unbound work of Jesus done for us. Thanks for your words, Brian..
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Please let everyone at your parish know that I said hello. I send them all an Easter greeting. He is risen! I hope the virus is not too bad in your area and in your parish. I look forward to a day that I might come again to put on a retreat for your parish. Thanks for writing. Jesus continues, even in these difficult times to offer us freedom from the sins that try to keep us bound.
You are a blessing to so many of us!
Thank you for sharing this story and
Being the door we all need every week to enter and experience the love of God u share with us…
May U and your family remain safe.
Thank you for your very kind post!
You always make me feel so good with your messages…the song was so beautiful! Have a wonderful Easter and enjoy the love of God….Hugs and Love ,Becky
Thank you for your words. I also wish you a happy and joy filled Easter.
Wow, Brian….amazing focus and perspective..I’m sure you’re ok with me sharing this with my students in “virtual classes”…correct?
Share away and be safe.
Please share it with everyone!
Thank you Brian, I’ve been afraid and anxious worrying about my family. My daughter is a nurse and husband works on military base, troop medical clinic, constantly praying they will be ok so they can care for the sick. Reading this has helped me cope with my fears and anxiety. God bless and keep the faith movement going.
I can somewhat relate to your post. My wife and daughter both work at the hospital and my son is in the Air Force. All of them are at risk. Prayer for your family.
Good morning, Brian: The good thing about today’s situation, is that we are given so much time to think, and be, and “huddle together wondering.” Perhaps its God’s way of teaching people how to huddle together as families, to pray together, to sing, to read and not be afraid. Let’s live every day as though it’s Easter morning.
Thanks for your post. Beautifully said!
Once again, thank you for your timely message. Thinking of the responses of the apostles in the upper room, I would say that I have acted like each of them at different times. Being reminded that this struggle can be united with Jesus’s passion, I will try harder to be like John. God bless you and your family!
I appreciate your kind words. I wish you a Happy Easter!
Brian, thank you for this great perspective and encouraging words. I pray The Lord blesses you richly with his presence this week.
Thank you for your post. We all have a lot to ponder during this Holy Week and being here in “our Upper Room” gives us that opportunity. Be blessed and stay safe!
Thank you! I have been struggling with loss of my job, fear for my children and a husband who has been deployed through all of this. Your words helped me put this in a different perspective and brought some hope and peace. God bless you!
I am glad that the Holy Spirit offered you some comfort through these words. I will pray for your continued peace! Have a blessed Holy Week!
You have provided a unique insight into facing these uncertain times. You turned the negative into a positive way of seeing this. Lots to reflect upon. Thanks !!
Thanks for your post. I must say that I had planned on writing about something else this week until the Holy Spirit put this message on my heart. It is a blessing to think about the similarity to the experience of the Apostles in the upper room and all us us gathered now in seclusion. It is a unique way to spend Holy Week for sure.
Thank you so much…..it is surely the strangest of times!…
Yes these times are strange, but I think this chance to somewhat experience some of the emotions of the Apostles in the upper room is a unique opportunity. We are huddle together wondering, like the Apostles did, about what is to come next. They were certainly pleasantly surprised on Easter morning. Stay safe! Thanks for posting.