This week we move into Lent 5. It is another familiarly uncertain week. We continue to be cautioned to remain physically distanced from all those whom we hold most precious, as well as all those whom we may encounter. It seems as if all the routine certainties that we took for granted, just a few weeks ago, are things that we will treasure in a new way as they, over time, become available again. We have much to reflect on.
Many of us are still able to stay within our family unit, but for some of us, our family is scattered into places like Senior Residences, and located throughout various parts of Canada and the world. And, so, we connect in with them whenever possible through our phone calls, face timing, texting, and skyping opportunities. Like all of you, Ted and I have kept in contact with our family as often as we are able.
This week offered me an immense blessing, as I picked up my phone and began texting and phoning as many of you as I was able to. For some, I was only able to leave messages of well wishes on your answering machines. It was my hope to see how you were doing and to make sure you were all safe and well. I was heartened to hear how well everyone is seeming to cope, and to hear about the activities you have taken up to pass the time. I will continue to phone you in the weeks ahead as we journey through this time of COVID-19.
Our lectionary scripture reading this 5th week of Lent is about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. It comes from the Gospel of John 11:1-45. The raising of Lazarus is the last of Jesus’ miracles. It is also the clearest sign of who Jesus is – the Son of God; the Promised Messiah; the Saviour of the world.
What I hope you’ll get out of the sermon, that I have prepared this week, is a promise: If Jesus can raise Lazarus from the dead, he can bring to you and I new life, if we are willing to allow him to. When we accept Jesus into our hearts, as our Lord and Saviour, we are raised to new life in Christ. Thus, we have a new chance to live life as God wants us to live it. Even as we make this choice, it is important to remember that to do so we need to have the grave clothes that still bind us and the shrouds that still cover our faces removed. Let us surrender, into the tender care of Jesus arms, each and every thing that binds us and clouds our vision. Then, in time, we’ll experience a dimension of life we could never, ever, have imagined.
In closing, I would invite each one of us to continue to pray for one another, for our leaders at every level of gov’t, for our medical professionals, technicians, and scientists who are trying to find a cure for COVID-19, and for the essential workers who are keeping our stores open, and our communities safe. Let us continue to pray together from our own homes at 10:30 a.m. every morning, asking God’s healing presence to bring healing and wholeness to our communities once again. Keep well and safe.