Brothers and Sisters in Christ, grace and peace to you!
Our season of Lent is here, a time of personal reflection, fasting and prayer as we prepare to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Our play is moving forward and I think it is going to a great production. Thank you to all the helping hands and willing hearts making this possible. In addition, each Wednesday in Lent we have Soup Suppers and short worship services following. Over the next few weeks I am going to be looking at the last words Jesus spoke from the cross. I think they are powerful words that still speak to us today, and I hope you will join us for some good soup and worship.
As we move through this Lent Season, however, it seems world events continue to rise around us. I mean, with tensions ratcheting up between the U.S. and China over Russia and the Ukraine, many are wondering if we are on the brink of World War Three? On top of that we have our own tensions within the U.S. over culture wars, gun violence, inflation, and the government running out of money. Many wonder if we are on the brink of economic collapse.
What do we make of all this? Are we on the brink of the end of the world? Are we quickly approaching the Apocalypse? I have been asked that question by our members and it really does beg the question, “What are we to make of all this? In Jesus’ final conversation with his disciples in the Upper Room before his arrest, trial, and crucifixion, Jesus told his disciples “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
In every generation since Jesus spoke these words the world has been in tribulation. Some generations have been worse than others. Over the years there have been wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines, and so on. Jesus said these all would happen, but he also compared them in Matthew 24 to a woman giving birth. This means that the closer we get to the end, the more frequent and the more intense these tribulations would become until the Antichrist is revealed, as St. Paul wrote. Then Jesus said the end would then come in like a flood.
We can't control what's happening in the world, but we can control our prayers. So as we prepare ourselves for Easter through this season of Lent, and we witness these serious and deadly events unfolding around us, let them more us to pray, "Lord, no matter what tribulations are happening around me help me stand firm in faith. And count me worthy, O Lord, to help save those who can be saved, to help those I can help, and to bear a faithful and true witness to the resurrected Christ. Help all of us, Lord, to stand together in the same faith. Amen.”
Take heart, no matter how bad things get in the world, Jesus has already overcome the world. That is why our hope is in him. And he tells us in his word that through faith in him, we too shall overcome.
A Blessed Lent Season to you!