We stand together with all people,
Facing a crisis common to us all,
One which threatens the end of lives,
Uncertainty for every person from an invisible enemy,
With a name like a favourite beer from Mexico,
A virus that can spread from one person to another and travel like a microscopic army,
Right around the world,
Threatening fear, anger and blame wherever it can be found.
As a follower of Jesus, how do we cope?
What is our identity and what holds us together?
We are not like the world,
Where our wellbeing is driven by what we do
and satisfaction with our situation in life,
That is not who we are.
We are not afraid of the future,
and what might happen to us tomorrow,
or next year or in the years ahead.
We don’t look in the paper and magazines to see what our stars say.
We live by faith and not by sight.
It is not our bank balance that makes us feel safe
and while it great to have a nice house or a new car,
that is not what deep happiness and joy is about in our life.
Instead we live by faith and we do not fear illness or even death,
and our hearts are not troubled.
We know that the Almighty Creator of the universe is our Father,
and that Jesus is our saviour and friend.
The Spirit of God gives us that confidence and faith,
that no one can take away the best thing in life,
our Father’s awesome love for us!
It is He who gives us peace and a courage that is like no other.
We know that God is in control,
and He is not panicked by terrorists, bushfires or Corona viruses.
God is good.
He has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us.
He is at the centre of who we are,
He knows us so well that He can tell the number of breaths we will take in our life.
He knew who we would marry and how many children we would have before we were even conceived.
He knew what job we would have, and He had a plan for us to live out on earth.
Looking back on life, we can see how miracles happened along the way.
God smoothed the path before us empowering us to do what seemed impossible for us alone.
He redeemed our nature and recreated our heart to be humble and other centred.
He made us part of the body of His Son.
We are the church and we are a sacrificial people not living for ourselves.
Life for us is about relationships blessed by our Father,
marriages where His love binds husband and wife,
And families where children enjoy parents who love them in the same way God loves His Son.
We sacrifice to give our children abundant love by giving ourselves to them.
We help them in hard times by giving them money and gifts.
But the most precious gift we give them is our joy in them as a gift from God to look after.
We know they only have us and we have them for this special earthly time called life on earth,
For they belong to the Father, as do we, and one day we will all celebrate eternity together.
We do not freak out!
We think about what a great God we have.
We value all the opportunities available to share His love with our family and friends.
In our daily living we live out our faith values using the Spirit’s gifts.
The relationship gifts of love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.
We have great hope for our future and the future of our children,
and we want to and can give generously to others.
We have hope, compassion and faith to share,
and like our Father we don’t force ourselves on anyone,
because we are all people created with a rational mind, an ability to think and to choose
who and what we believe and how we want to live our life.
We know our own struggles, doubts and challenges which a common to all people
and we, like our Father, invite others to come to know Him too.
Whether they choose our Father to be their father too or not,
we continue to live life together and strive to build a world that is safe,
where no one should need to fear other people and we can live in a safe neighbourhood.
It is amazing to see that when times are tough people do find strength and hope in banding together,
in helping each other and supporting their neighbours and people in need to survive.
We have seen it in times of floods, when cyclones devastated towns and cities,
when people are caught up in earthquakes and avalanches or mine cave-ins,
when bushfires come and bring massive destruction of homes and take the lives of people and animals.
We stand together and find money to help those in need and we rally to give support.
Thank you, God, that you created people with a heart for others and that we have a place in it for people who need help,
That is a good thing!
The greatest gift that you give to people, apart from your love through Jesus, is the relationships we can share with each other!
Neil P. Schiller
(Thoughts based on and around Pastor Ben Henschke’s address given at ipswich.online.church on Sunday 22.03.20)