On this Monday as we begin Holy Week, my wife and I took a trip to our favorite place.
It was one of the places that we could go during our statewide stay-at-home order to keep healthy.
Along the way, we saw beautiful red buds, plums and a few dogwoods popping up alongside the road.
The trees were a glow with yellowish green pollen
We even saw turkeys, and a tree full of turkey buzzards.
It was a beautiful day considering all that is happening at the beginning of Holy Week for Christians and the Passover on Wednesday for the Jewish faith.
This past Wednesday, synagogues were closed, and the youngest child will not ask the question, “Why is this night so special?”
There will be no Maundy Thursday services held in churches.
There will be no Good Friday stations of the cross or Good Friday services held.
On this Easter morning when Christians all around the world would normally be gathering in their churches to proclaim to the world, “Christ is raised. Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” They are gathering in small groups of one or two in their homes.
All over the world faith groups have been asked to forgo going to their houses of worship for the health of their faith communities.
All have been asked to be socially distant to help end the spread of the novel coronavirus better known as COVID 19.
All faith groups wither, Muslim. Jewish, Christian or others is about community.
The church is about meeting together to study God’s word.
The Church is about spending time in fellowship and breaking bread together.
Jesus taught about the kingdom of God in large and in small groups of gathered people of faith.
During this Lent season, as we prepared ourselves for the hope of Easter morning, often there has been little hope proclaimed by the news media and social media.
At times there have been dire predictions and rightly so as the science community and doctors tried to get a grasp on how to treat this new virus.
The numbers around the world of deaths has been staggering, and the numbers of those recovered seem miniscule.
We pray that soon like polio and other dreadful diseases that have affected humanity that an inoculation will be found.
Please lift up this dedicated scientist as they rapidly seek a cure daily in your prayers.
At times, it is hard for us to realize and grasp that people throughout history have faced worse illnesses with less medical equipment and knowledge than we have today and despite the pain, suffering, and even death, life went on.
But, I know and trust one thing firmly.
The novel coronavirus will not be the end of the U.S.A.
The novel coronavirus will not be the end of humanity.
The novel coronavirus will not be the end of the church.
But, all of us have had to get creative for a little while.
We’ve learned new words such as Zoom, Skype, social media, social distancing, and the new norm.
Yes, we live stream our worship weekly on social media, but who would have ever thought that would be the only way we could met as a church family.
We, at First Christian, are huggers, and it is hard to give a virtual hug.
Emojis might be cute, but they are not the same as a proper hug.
But, we have ventured into this new social domain, and I know that through the Holy Spirit, God is with us.
God is with us as we lift up our voices in praise.
This may be the only time you can make a joyful noise singing off key, and nobody will notice.
God is with us as we hear the scripture passages.
God is with us as we do our daily Bible studies with just our close family members or ourselves.
We can witness our faith by texting, emailing or calling to checking on one another.
We can be the church by lifting each other up in prayer daily.
This is also our chance to prove to the world that we are who we say we are.
This is also our chance to prove to the world that we believe God is who we say he is.
We have hope, even in the face of death if it comes to that.
We believe in love.
We will stand firm and hold up our fellow men and women in this time.
We must be the ones who stand in the gap to protect those who are most vulnerable.
We will serve those who need our help, even if we risk ourselves.
The church has always done this in the past.
If today is our turn, then today is our turn.
This is who our God is, and this is who we are.
We must stand firm.
We must hold fast.
As the prophet Isaiah reminds us all, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
“I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear. I will help you.” Isaiah 41:10; 13
Rev. Frank Chlastak began work as senior minister of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Poplar Bluff on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015.