First Lesson: 1 Corinthians 15: 1-11
Gospel Lesson: John 20: 1-18
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Click below for the manuscript of the sermon for Easter Sunday.
Charles Dickens 2020
Written and Shared by: Chaplain Chris Belfield
“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of
Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." This quote is the complete first sentence and often-quoted beginning of a literary masterpiece, A Tale of Two Cities, written by Charles Dickens in 1859. The novel, set during the French Revolution's Reign of Terror, describes a world experiencing conditions unlike any it has experienced in the past, which is exacerbated by fear of the unknown which the future holds. For many, this seems to be a current theme, and some are reacting accordingly.
I marvel daily at the extremes of the spectrum on how we are reacting to the new circumstances we temporarily find ourselves. On one end are what I term the "finger-pointers." Someone is to blame; someone has to be held accountable; the immediate change will certainly fix everything. Someone needs to fix my problem right now. Harumph! On the complete opposite side are those who are demonstrating the strength and resolve they may not have previously thought themselves capable of possessing. They are the ones who are saying, "What needs to be done, and what can I do?" I remember shortly after 9/11, and we joined together to recognize the heroism of police and fire responders who go to the danger, while others flee for safety. Today, those are the same people, as well as everyone who works in health care, grocery stores, support services, post offices, gas stations, and….I think you get the idea. Everyone has a role in contributing to getting through this dangerous and deadly time.
My heart almost skipped a beat, with incredible joy, as I saw a photo on-line today of nurses joining together for prayer on the landing pad atop a hospital. This pandemic has been a time of re-evaluating of
people's faith commitment and their relationship to God. True, there have been those who blame God, if God exists, they say. Blaming someone you don't believe in? As a pastor, I freely admit that I am incapable of understanding the full mind of God. I am allowed to understand what God gives me through the Holy Spirit. Nineteenth-century Scottish minister, Rev. George Halley Knight said, "There is something better than understanding God, and that is trusting him."
Now is not the time for finger-pointing or blaming. It is a time for trusting God and looking deep inside and saying, what can I do to help?
Our encouragement verses for this week:
Psalm 37:5-6 (NIV)
“ Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will do this: He
will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication
like the noonday sun.”
May you be blessed by God’s word.