Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
A friend and colleague reminded me today of this wonderful Easter verse,
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” [John 20.19]
As we talk in our families, congregations and communities about isolation and quarantine, as we consider the fear and uncertainty which infiltrates so much of our world, the risen Christ steps in amongst us.
Leaders of all our presbyteries and our Synod met this morning, to consider how we can best serve our Church and our God, at this perplexing time. Pragmatic issues of safety and finance were undergirded and challenged by the need to care for people across our Church and community, and to continue our worship, witness and service to the living God.
In this season leading to Easter, I remind you that we are disciples of the risen, crucified Lord, who speaks to our lives now. The Basis of Union states “the Church is able to live and endure through the changes of history only because its Lord comes, addresses, and deals with people in and through the news of his completed work.”
We face challenging, difficult times. Our community is uncertain, afraid. We will need to learn how to worship and gather in new ways in the weeks and months ahead. We will discover new ways of being in community, like Zoom and Skype; we may rediscover ways of contact that we may have laid aside, like phone calls and snail mail.
Jesus is with us, allaying our fear and leading us in hope.
Jesus’ presence brings peace when everything is in turmoil, and we are unsure of what is next. Jesus’ death and resurrection assert the promise of God is greater than our circumstances, and offers hope for today and tomorrow.
In the days ahead the greetings of peace we will share affirm our faith in our God, and is the witness we bear in the world around us.
I am praying for you, our congregations and our presbyteries as we navigate these days under the song of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Grace and peace for these days.