Ministry Updates for Saturday, April 11th, 2020
Easter Sunday Worship—April 5th at 9:30 a.m.
Please join us as we again will host a virtual worship service through Facebook Live. Tune in Sunday through the Farmersville United Methodist Church’s Facebook Page for a brief worship. This is a great time to reach out to and share this service with friends who might need some encouragement. Anyone can log on and watch. This link will take you to the event. https://www.facebook.
Scripture for Reflection – Matthew 27:57-66
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.
The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.
Reflection – In the Waiting
The evidence seems to point to a trick, rather than a promise. Life ends in death. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is unavoidable. Love is a fleeting feeling, not an eternal commitment. It seems counter-intuitive to believe otherwise.
The scripture itself often gives us choices. When the Red Sea was parted for the fleeing Hebrews, either it was at the hand of God through Moses, or the wind blew all night. At Pentecost, either everyone was hearing the Word in their native tongue, or they were drunk. And here we get the choice again. Either Jesus was risen from the dead, or there was a plan in place to make it look so, ‘and the last deception was worse than the first’.
I believe with all my heart that this pandemic is a tremendous opportunity. To be sure, just as Jesus suffered, many are suffering. But God is at the work in the midst of this. I believe all of us will benefit. I believe those who are faithful to God’s promises will benefit tenfold.
But what about the death toll, you say? The truth is that most of us will survive, but some won’t. Of course every life matters. But is life chance? Is the empty tomb a hoax? Or does God have both the survivors and the perished in his hands, nurturing them with the hope of new life?
But what about unemployment you say? The truth is that some will suffer economic hardship, some won’t. But is life chance? Is the empty tomb a hoax? Or is God caring for all of us, most especially the poor, the ones Jesus called blessed?
Holy Saturday is a question, not an answer. We can look back and say Rome or the powers that be get the final say, and that suffering and death will fill the final page of the book. Or we can look forward to that empty tomb, emptied of death by God.
When you look to the future with your personal or our collective fears and challenges, what will it be. Is the empty tomb a hoax? Or is it the gift of God?
Heavenly God, on this day we sit with a question. Please know that in our doubt, we are simply seeking the truth. Please know that in our fear of doubt, we rush ahead to Easter before its time. On this Holy Saturday, let us feel the uncertainty that we feel, knowing that when we confess anything to you, even our fears, our doubts, our misdeeds, we will be blessed. We believe, O Lord, help our unbelief. Amen.