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Pastor’s Message

 

 

 

“Surely he has borne our griefs(sicknesses) and carried our sorrows…” Isaiah 53:4.

“Truly, Truly I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice.  You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.”             John 16:20

 

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

            There is a Tom Petty song  – I cannot really remember what it is about –  but I remember the refrain, “The waiting is the hardest part.”  We have now passed the one-year mark of dealing with COVID-19.  I had to laugh when I looked back at what I wrote for my April Newsletter article one year ago.  Here are a couple of lines from it: “We are intending to only suspend services for two weeks.    We hope to resume our regular schedule for Holy Week beginning with Sunday School/Bible Study and worship on Palm Sunday, April 5th.  This could change, and if it does, we will communicate it using the means outlined below…”  As you know, we did not resume in-person worship Palm Sunday or Easter or for any Sunday for another two and half months.  That was hard!  It has also been hard living under the shadow of fear, anxiety, and anger, discord, and discontent that have been hovering over our lives throughout the last year.  But do not be deceived, we will not always be living under this shadow!!!! 

            When I say this, I do not say this in the sense of “this too shall pass.”  I say it in the confidence of what we read above from Isaiah 53:4. Christ Jesus, the Suffering Servant, has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.  The word that the English Standard Version translates as “griefs” more commonly means sicknesses when it is used elsewhere in the Old Testament.  When Jesus went to the cross, He bore not only our sins upon Himself but all that goes with our sin—the guilt and shame and sorrow, but also the brokenness and sickness that daily affects our lives.  This means that He bore COVID-19 on Himself when he went to the cross.  He went to the cross so that COVID-19 and every other sickness and sorrow would be done away with once and for all.  Christ’s death means the death of COVID-19 and sin and death!  His resurrection means the defeat of COVID-19, sin, death, and all the power of the devil.

            As Jesus told His disciples in John 16, though now you weep and lament, your sorrow will be turned into joy.  Or, to quote one of the great hymns in our hymnal, The Church’s One Foundation, “And soon the night of weeping shall be the morn of song.” Right now is the time of waiting and as Tom Petty said, “the waiting is the hardest part.”  This time of waiting is hard, but remember who and what we wait for!  Jesus, who is the firstfruits of the resurrection, will bring us to the great resurrection harvest that awaits.  When He does, the hardest part will be over and the only thing that will cast a shadow over our lives is the Lord’s presence that shelters us forever (see Rev. 7:15).  The waiting is the hardest part, but we can do it in the strength the Lord provides us and with the faith that He creates in us through His Word and Promises.
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
 
In Christ,
Pastor Liebich