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.
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A SPECIAL NOTE
I will be sending out a special 4th day video message on Easter Sunday. Please watch for it.