Friday, April 10, 2020

Deployed!


Luke 24:4-6
While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen!  Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee.

Are you missing being able to attend church, especially during this sacred Holy Week?  Yes?  Me, too!  Throngs of Christians are mourning the fact we can no longer meet in close proximity, to celebrate and worship God together in fellowship, and garner strength, comfort and wisdom from friends, who inspire us to face the week that lies ahead with renewed conviction.

But as we approach Easter, with today being Good Friday, when Jesus chose the agony of the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, let us rethink our current inability to be physically together in community.  Is it, all in all, a bad thing?  When we stop and consider Jesus' command to love our neighbors as ourselves, isn't that what we are doing when we self-isolate or practice social distancing during this pandemic?  It's a new opportunity to acknowledge the value of all God's children.

Then we hear the countless stories of Christians doing remarkable things in their towns and communities for those out of work and for those, like the elderly, who are cautioned to stay in place.  I hope you will share the ones you have heard, or perhaps, been a part of, in the comments!

Encouraging one another, and lifting each other up, doesn't have to stop.  We can reach out by phone calls, texts, social media, and cards.  When was the last time you sent someone a note via snail mail?  Just the other day, before this madness descended, I received an unexpected, but so welcome, post card from a blogging friend.  Her words lifted my spirits that day, and continue to do so as I keep her card front and center on my computer desk.

And of course, we can pray without ceasing, for all those on the front lines of this disease, for those who are ill and hurting, for the families in economic peril, for all who are working in essential jobs to keep this country going.  Yes, we can pray, too, for all those who hoarded toilet paper.  Didn't Jesus tell us to love our enemies?  That's a start!

Might it be that because we can no longer meet together in a physical church building, we are actually doing more for the Lord and His kingdom than ever before?

Because when we attend Sunday service, yet fail to carry the message we receive into the world, the church becomes a tomb.  One that stays sealed, devoid of the resurrection promise.

So, let's not view the empty church as a negative thing, but as the gloriously empty tomb the women discovered on that first Easter morning so long ago.

May we take joy in being deployed into this dark and hurting world to share the Good News of Christ Jesus like never before.

Isn't that what being a Christian is really all about?

May your Easter be blessed!

Amen!

36 comments:

  1. What a wonderful sober post full of hope and great sense. You really have a gift, Martha, of getting to the point most gently and in an effective way. Thanx.

    Here in the UK there has started a new tradition over the past few weeks. Every Thursday, at 8:00pm, people open their windows, (some stand in their front garden), and applaud the good works done by those in the front line - doctors, nurses, ambulance staff, police, fire service, shop staff, food delivery staff, teachers who stay at school to look after the children of the afore mentioned front-liners, etc ... People applaud or band pans together or make similar noise for about ten minutes or so in honour and recognition of all those people who continue to work, at their own risk, to keep society and the country going.

    God bless.

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    1. That's a marvelous tradition you have started across the pond, Victor! We can't thank our front line workers enough, and should be in continual prayer for them. I'm also praying that folks can get back to work sooner than later. There is dire need in the U.S. as I'm sure there is in the U.K.
      Love and blessings!

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    2. The tradition is being encouraged by social media and TV. On TV they showed people in various parts of the country, in towns and cities, out of their windows clapping and cheering. Near us, yesterday, someone let off fireworks. It was too bright to see them properly in the sky but you could hear their explosions from a distance. From my back garden I could hear someone playing the bagpipes. It was loud enough to hear but I could not tell where it came from. It lasted about ten minutes. People seem to be doing their own thing to applaud front-liners each Thursday.

      Here too, businesses are suffering. The Government has put on financial rescue packages for businesses and self-employed, like plumbers. They will also help businesses to keep on workers in employment.

      More prayers needed all round. It would be wonderful if all this human togetherness in a crisis brings (some) people back to God.

      God bless, Martha.

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    3. Yes, Victor, if this crisis brings people back to God, it's all well worth it! Thanks for sharing more stories. :)

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  2. Amen, Martha! Love this thought and something I've been reflecting on myself:"Might it be that because we can no longer meet together in a physical church building, we are actually doing more for the Lord and His kingdom than ever before?"

    Happy Resurrection Sunday, friend!

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    1. So glad this post resonated with you today, Karen. May your Easter be blessed!
      Love and blessings!

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  3. Yes, we need to use our faith as a witness to our communities, in whatever small ways we can. I put a cross in our front yard, and a man riding by on his bicycle last night while I was outside watering our plants said, "I like your cross!". That meant so much to me. So yes, people are watching us to see if we live up to our faith talk. I refuse to let fear take over my life. We will be respectful, abide by the rules to protect one another, but not allow fear to drive us away from believing in the promises of God. He is with us. We do not need to fear. Praise God. Have a blessed Easter weekend.

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    1. Yes, Pamela, I saw the photo of your cross on your latest post, and I absolutely love it! Having visible symbols displayed is one way to communicate our faith to others, especially during this time of social distancing. And nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from the love of God. He is right here with us through it all!
      Love and blessings!

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  4. My goodness, Martha! If you were sharing this message from a pulpit, I'd stand and applaud. Great interpretation of loving our neighbors as we do ourselves. Like you, I'm so impressed (and humbled) by extraordinary acts of love by ordinary folks. (Maybe the media isn't so bad after all? LOL.)

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    1. Your kind words blow me away, Myra. Thank you! And I know that like you, I'm humbled by the many good works being done in communities for those in need. But just a word of caution: Don't get your hopes up about the media - lol!
      Love and blessings!

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  5. Amen! Amen! Amen! Wonderfully said, full of truth and power from on HIGH! Praise the LORD!

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    1. Thank you most sincerely, Marla! Yes, let us, in every circumstance, praise our Father and give thanks for all He has given us through His Son, Christ Jesus.
      Love and blessings!

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  6. Yes, Martha! "So, let's not view the empty church as a negative thing, but as the gloriously empty tomb the women discovered on that first Easter morning so long ago."

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    1. So glad you liked this sentence, Beckie! We can do so much in the world as Christians, and that's what we should be about.
      Love and blessings!

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  7. I realized as soon as this crisis started that people were going to be driven back to God and family. I am thrilled to watch it play out. Yes, there is a lot of negativity but as with anything in life, we can make or break any situation. Thank you for this well-thought out message

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    1. Thank you, Carol, for your kind and encouraging words here. Yes, I thought the same from the beginning as you did. It is my prayer that more and more people in this nation repent of their sins and seek the life, forgiveness and grace that only the Lord Jesus can give. Let us once again become that city on the hill!
      Love and blessings!

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  8. Well said Martha. It is time for the church to realize we were never meant to stay within the walls and keep our worship there. "Father, help us to be deployed."

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    1. Amen, Bill! We have to take the message of Christ's salvation to every corner of this world. Maybe this is the time anointed to us, no matter how difficult we are finding it to be.
      Love and blessings!

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  9. Your post reminded me of this quote I came across by Miguel Petroski: "We can believe that God is present and still be either six feet away or in the safety of our homes on Sunday morning. The church will always be the church no matter how physically close its members are. God isn’t just found in the confines of a physical church building — God meets us where we are." Easter blessings to you!

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    1. Oh, Laurie, what a perfect quote to share here at this time in our lives! God cannot be put into a box or a building. He is always where we are, and He meets us with His love and grace.
      Love and blessings!

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  10. I have found this so true in that though we are more isolated, it affords us more time to pray and call others that are in need. This I feel will change us in a profound way when we come out of it on the other side.

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    1. I believe this will change us profoundly, too, Valerie, and for the better as we serve God and reach out to others.
      Love and blessings!

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  11. Beautiful post, Martha! Two different times, my husband has been in the store searching for toilet paper, and two people have come up to him and asked him if he was looking for toilet paper and handed him theirs because the shelves were empty. In the midst of the ones who are being mean during the crisis, good is being done, too. So thankful for God's faithfulness through the hands of kind and gentle strangers.

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    1. What a remarkable story you have shared here, Cheryl! God will see to it that good is being done, in most unselfish ways that bring Him the glory. A heart focused upon Him is the heart that will heed His will and provide for His people.
      Love and blessings!

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  12. A Beautiful Post, the Faithful should always be Deployed, it is the best Witness of their Spirituality.

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  13. Yes, Martha, we're to take the Good News and share it with a lost and hurting world. We're to be missional--the church in mission. Yet, we do need to get equipped, and we also need others around us to spur us on and to keep the fire within us "hot".

    This time apart is likely good training for what will come in the future. (When we're forced to go back to our "roots"--house churches due to governmental oppression.)

    Revival is likely to happen--my deep desire to be ACTIVE in it and not a casual observer, etc. There will be a cost to this revival--there always is a cost. We must prepare now!

    Love and blessings!

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    1. Yes, Kim, I do hope this time is preparing us for revival, and that we will be an integral part of that in times to come. We do need to come together, to nourish and encourage one another in the faith, but those days will be back sooner than later. In the meantime, let us cling to hope we have in Christ Jesus.
      Love and blessings!

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  14. Thanks Martha, good post. In was thinking while reading... Jesus was alone as well, no fellowship, no one left to comfort Him on the cross. Very lonely hours.

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    1. Oh, yes, Jesus did suffer such loneliness, so we know that He understands how so many of us are feeling right now. I can take comfort in that, Marja!
      Love and blessings!

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  15. I am missing all the Holy Week activities our church usually provides and of course, Easter Sunday services. Easter, however, is not canceled! God is with us in this crisis.

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    1. Amen, Laurie! God is with us in all of this, and He will get us through to the other side of this mess.
      Love and blessings!

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  16. AMEN, Great post. Blessings to you and yours.

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