Rev. Mike Mack
Worship service Sunday mornings 9:30 a.m.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned that you can’t always predict how things will end when you are in the middle of something. There are times when the most enjoyable fun events in life go terribly wrong and end badly. However, there are just as many or even more times when things that seem to be hopeless turn and something wonderful happens.
It is interesting that in the midst of the Lenten season most of us are stuck at home. We are not able to do many of the things that bring meaning to our lives, and we are unable to be with many people that we enjoy and love. Who of us thought we would be giving up those things during Lent?
As I write this article, we are preparing to enter the spiritual/emotional roller coaster of Holy week. Our journey this year is different than any other Holy Week that most of us have experienced. There is a chance that we will not even be able to meet together during Holy Week, or even for Easter Sunday. Whether we are together or not, it will be a Holy Week like none other in our lives.
There is a connection we really should make. Jesus’ last Passover Week was also different than any he had ever experienced. It started with Jesus entering Jerusalem. People were shouting “Hosanna” (Saves!) as they waved palm branches and laid them, and even their clothing, as a red carpet for Jesus riding on a donkey into Jerusalem. It continued with Jesus: chasing unethical business people out of the temple courts, saying and teaching controversial things, offending the religious leaders, being betrayed by one of his disciples, being arrested and tried and convicted, and then his abuse and torture and crucifixion and death.
What is interesting is that for Jesus’ disciples it appeared during his passion and death that things had ended badly. I mean after all - he was dead! However, what seemed like the end was actually the middle. It looked like total unrecoverable defeat, but it was simply the prelude for victory. Jesus rose from the dead and the defeat was suddenly reversed by complete and total victory!
We celebrate in exaltation, “Death has been swallowed up in victory." and "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54b-55, NIV) The victory is not just Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead - but also a victory for us by the implications of all that happened in the middle through his passion and death.
Sometimes what looks like an end in total defeat is actually not the end at all. What seems like defeat are simply struggles, set-backs, obstacles, and challenges in the middle of something that will not end in defeat at all. This is true as we settle in for a time of being homebound, and it is true of your relationships, your marriage, your finances, and your life in general. Please remember that often the middle looks like the end, but it isn’t the end at all.
So, keep doing the right things. Keep moving forward toward the victory that is actually possible over a virus and the general troubles of life. Always remember, God always has the last word.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.(Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV1984)
Blessings, Pastor Mike