I’m usually very optimistic – seeing the glass as half full rather than half empty – looking for the possibilities rather than the problems. But its tough right now. Throughout the Old Testament we have God’s people in times of EXILE – not in their homeland – and they want to go back to the good old days! It’s a recurring theme in the Bible. To be honest with you – it reminds me of what our world – our nation – and our church are going through right now – an Exile called COVID!
I feel like the people did in the verse above: “I want worship! I want things to come back to like they were! We had lots of people, the passing of the peace, soup Sundays, greeters, ushers, Sunday School – we never see anything but Facebook Live! I want to go back Lord!” I have a feeling I’m not alone. None of us want to be in exile – the Israelites didn’t when they were leaving Egypt and we don’t when we are trying to leave COVID behind us.
Funny thing is that when the Israelites finally arrived – it was to the promised land – a land flowing with milk and honey. I know there were more times of exile in the journey for them, and I’m sure they looked back at times and thought to themselves: “I miss the good old days” quite often! I guess we need to envision what lies ahead for us after COVID. It won’t be the same, but it is a “new beginning” for us all – maybe you could say a “new place” where God is leading us out of this time of Exile. Sure – when we return it won’t be same, and we may think back about the ‘good old days’ at Summit – but we need to always remember that God is up to a new thing as we leave our time of exile.
In many ways that’s what our Lenten and Easter journey is all about too. We were in an exile called sin and death, and the Lord is leading us to a new land – a land of forgiveness AND a land of eternal life. That is an exile we all needed (or need) to escape.
It isn’t easy when we travel through any time of exile – and it never has been. God knows our complaints, our fears, our pain, our hunger, our needs – and He will get us to the promised land – a land that will be post-COVID! And as we remember the greatest deliverance from exile ever accomplished during this Lenten season – don’t forget one of the other great gifts we have – WE ARE NEVER ALONE IN OUR EXILE!
Don’t walk alone this year! Join us at church, online, at the outdoor chapel, in prayer as God leads us into the promised land where he will be doing a new thing indeed. Just keep your eyes on the Cross, and your cup of life will always be FILLED TO OVERFLOWING!
In Jesus’ Love – Pastor Dan