Hope and peace to you!
One year ago on March 11 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a ‘Pandemic.’
The WHO director-general, in his March 11th 2020 announcement said, “This is not just a public health crisis, it is a crisis that will touch every sector…”
And it has touched every sector of our lives. The Covid pandemic has deeply impacted our ways of daily living, socializing, working, schooling, worshiping, vacationing, playing, volunteering, shopping, and so much more. It has impacted physical health, mental health, emotional health, spiritual health, and relational health. It has impacted our ways of being church and doing church. So much has changed! And while all the impacts have not been negative, and much good has also come, we need to name the truth that we have suffered the loss of much and we have grieved the losses we have faced, and continue to. Take a moment to pause and acknowledge the significant losses we personally and the world corporately has faced. May we all receive God’s healing grace!
The good news for us as people of God is that we do not grieve as people who have no hope. The story of God, revealed so powerfully in Jesus, is that out of pain, suffering, grief, loss and death, can come new hope and life. As we go through Lent and look to Good Friday and Easter we are reminded that the pain of suffering and death can lead us to the gift of resurrection and new life. Suffering, pain, death and grief can be a path to new transformed life!
While we have seen signs of life all through this past year we do wait in hope to the day when many of the restrictions we still face today will be removed. We look in hope to renewed opportunities to gather with our friends, extended family and our whole church family. We look in hope to a day when the threat of this virus is contained. We look in hope to the transformation God is working in the midst of the challenges and pain of this past year.
The apostle Paul may have been speaking primarily to the final hope of our full redemption when he wrote these words from Romans 8.
18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
But I believe these words also speak powerfully to the present day renewal we can hope for. God’s renewal and transformation, which will one day be full and complete, begins now in smaller ways as we receive the gift of every work of transformation in our lives.
The gift of this past week, as spring temperatures begin to emerge from the cold of winter, is a needed reminder of the daily transforming work of God always at work. Every season of life comes to an end, and new seasons begin. As we wait for this Covid pandemic season to end I invite you to reflect on the words of the familiar song, “In the bulb there is a flower” written by Natalie Sleeth. As we receive the message of this song may we wait in hope for what is yet to be revealed!
In the bulb there is a flower
In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree; in cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free! In the cold and snow of winter, there’s a spring that waits to be, unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.
There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody. There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me. From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery, unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.
In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity; in our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity. In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory, unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.