My dearly beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, greetings to you, your loved ones and the family of God in the name of our risen Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
As we move forward out of lockdown, I look and see bulbs of light, life, and Christ’s love shining around us despite having been through one of life’s most devastating experiences with the pandemic. Lots of our loved ones, friends and extended human family have died alone and are no longer with us, we’ve been unable to say our goodbyes. May the Lord grant the souls of the faithful departed, rest, and may Christ’s resurrection give us a real sense of a living hope as we build back better.
I wish to share two thoughts as we contemplate the way forward, hoping to build back stronger by God’s grace.
After the crucifixion, the disciples were afraid of the Jews and went into “lockdown”, they were spellbound in fear, windows and doors locked.
Their Lord Jesus Christ appeared amongst them and said, “Shalom”, meaning “Peace be with you.” He breathed God’s peace on them in a most challenging time of anxiety, fear and crisis. So, my friends, my first thought is, remember, Christ is with you, whatever you are going through, trust him as he breathes God’s peace on you. (Luke 23:36). Perfect Love casts out Fear.
In another scenario, Cleophas and his companion travelled the short journey to the village called Emmaus. As they journeyed, Christ joined them as they discussed the events of Good Friday.
Jesus expounded the Holy Scriptures to them and what the events meant. After the journey, as they sat down to eat, he took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, then their eyes were opened and they recognised the resurrected Christ. Alas! They returned to Jerusalem to tell the disciples how their hearts burned with fire within them as he expounded the Holy Scriptures. He is Risen! (Luke 24:13-33). So, my second thought is this, remember, Christ is travelling with you in your journey of faith and Christian discipleship. He is your travelling companion and friend, who supports and gives strength as you go through life’s challenges and upheavals and especially now as we return to a new postpandemic norm.
We give thanks to God for making his grace available to us through Christ, who has given us a new hope and peace in the midst of turmoil and promise of his abiding presence through the Holy Spirit.
Finally, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7 KJV).
Therefore, hold on, beloved brothers and sisters, fellow travellers and disciples of Christ with the assurance of God’s promises which are confirmed in Christ Jesus. Shalom!