Be of good cheer for what does it benefit you to be glum?
When the world seems hopeless, we remain hopeful!
We walk in a time like Jesus and the disciples in a troubled world.
Palestine was a place under the harsh rule of the infant killer King Herod.
In his infancy Jesus had to flee to Egypt to avoid being slain,
The shepherds of the day had such a randy reputation that they were considered godless,
They were restricted to enter only the outer courtyards to the temple with the women.
God was approached by the Jews with fear,
Jewish children learned stories about the sacred mountain in the desert that proved fatal to everyone who touched it,
To mishandle the ark of the covenant meant death,
Even the High Priest could only enter the Holy of Holies on one day of the year.
The Jews lived burdened by countless laws that made life harsh and cruel,
The religious leaders could not agree on religious matters and hated each other,
The land was hot, dusty, and inhospitable to its inhabitants,
To get from place to place people had to walk as few could afford a horse or a donkey.
From 67 to 37 BC no fewer that 150,000 men perished in Palestine in revolutionary uprisings.
Uncertainty was palpable,
Yet God was at work in such a time of upheaval caring for the whole world,
He sent Jesus to leave heaven and enter the world infected by the sin virus,
Giving him the task of sacrificing himself to be the victorious saviour of the world.
In the uncertain time of violence, hate of Roman domination and brutality, Jesus came,
He was born to an unmarried mother, teased, and scorned by his peers,
Even thought to be out of his mind by his siblings for his anticultural views.
This is what God was doing when the religious of the day wondered where God was.
God is still at work in the world in 2020 as we deal with Covid 19!
He is not a God who runs away from the violence and destruction being inflicted on the world,
He continues to be right in among us announcing through his people the victory won by Jesus,
He empowers people to live and work in hopefulness to care for the sick, the unemployed and the poor,
He calls us to work together as a people united to fight the virus through social cohesion,
Social distancing, hygiene procedures and working together to stop it spreading,
Our life has had to change, and we have had to again take care that our decisions are good for not only ourselves, but for others too.
We have come to see the value of helping each other, neighbours helping neighbours, and younger people helping the aged in the community.
God has not move away from us.
He is still our creator.
He still sends rain and seasons,
He still is the Father who gave His only Son to die and rise for us,
He still suffers to see the evil of sin and death afflict his creation,
He is still showing mercy by reaching out with his offer of forgiveness to the world,
He still calls us to accept the free gift of pardon and to follow Jesus,
He is still the same God who walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the Garden,
He still eagerly waits for all to come to Him and to return home.
Glory to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit!
God is the Great “I Am”, who spoke the world into being, who spoke to Moses from the burning bush, who promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations, who sent Jesus into the world, who sustains creation and who at the appointed time will send Jesus to judge the world and call the faithful home.
Neil P. Schiller
Monday, 18 May 2020