So much has happened in March 2020 that I doubt few of us will forget that month. None of us expected on March 1, 2020 that in less than three weeks we would forego coming together for worship. I am writing this article on Sunday, March 22, so even more might happen by the time you read it. We do not know. Perhaps this month is a reminder that as much as we think we have planned our days and even a month, sometimes our lives become anything else than what we planned.
What should we make of this month? Perhaps this month is a reminder that as humans, we are not as powerful or in control of our world as much as we would like to think we are. It is humbling to think about the power of a virus, something we cannot see and what it can do. People have died; the economy of the world has changed on a scale affecting every country. At the same time, people have come together to help their families and friends. In some ways, life has slowed down a bit as people spend more time at home.
I have heard a number of theological discussions regarding this virus. A good one concerned the difference between concern and worry. We all know someone for whom this virus can create fear due to age or health. It is human nature to worry about life around us, particularly when life gives many challenges. When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he concluded his letter with these words, “The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” One hymn that comes to mind is What a Friend we Have in Jesus and the words, “Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge – take it to the Lord in prayer.” Given our own individual circumstances and those among our families and friends our concerns can add up quickly, but with Christ we have the one anxious to hear our concerns, take away our worry, and give us rest and relief.
Another discussion I heard was a man who described his “go to Psalm” as Psalm 27 which begins with, “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” and ends with, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” David wrote this psalm confident God would deliver him from his enemies. We can repeat this psalm confident God will deliver us from our challenges and protect us. These words from the hymn Abide with Me come to mind, “Change and decay in all around I see; O Thou who changest not, abide with me.” Much is happening that can make us afraid but with Christ we have our source of strength and hope in these challenging times.
Remember, be better than the ones in Matthew 15:2.
Pastor Michael Dorner