Sermon May 24th 2020

“Blessings Track” , Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer, https://youtu.be/SkVT8O5E1rM

God’s care for a time of pandemic

“God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him,” (1 Peter 5:6).

How do we know that God cares about us?  “I am praying on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours,” (John 17:9).

I believe that during this season of uncertainty, concerns, challenges, and worries there is no more comforting words to hear than, “I care about you” or “I will take care of you.”

And that is what the Scriptures tells us – God cares about each one of us.  As Jesus puts it in His own prayer, we “belong to God,” (John 17:9).

Once the Christian faith grew beyond the apostles and the first converts, together with the joy that a believer finds in a renewed fellowship with our Creator, the challenges arrived.  And mind you  — Often the challenges involved more than doctrine or tradition.  The early Christians soon realized that their newly found life went against the beliefs and traditions of their culture – and that a betrayal to those traditions and culture placed their own life in jeopardy.

Jesus was branded as an enemy of Cesar.  St Paul risked his life preaching against the idols.  Why?  Because faith in Christ was against the economic interests of the idol-making industry — indeed, the economic life of an entire region.  And, as you know, many Christians had to choose whether to accept Jesus as supreme Lord of the universe or Cesar – a life or death decision.

“Dear friends, don’t be surprised or shocked that you are going through testing that is like walking through fire… Count it a blessing when you suffer for being a Christian,” may have not be the message the early Christians wanted to hear. But here is the good news, this too shall pass, for “Everything will soon come to an end.”

With a heart of a pastor, Peter comforts the flock that Jesus entrusted to his care.  He was like, “Yes, there is suffering in this life, but if you keep doing the right thing, everything will come to an end.  But here is the key, while all this is going on, please know that God cares about you.”

God cared about the plight of our early fathers and mothers in the faith.  God cares so much that as we well know, “He sent His only Son so that those who believe in Him may have eternal life.”  But God’s care is continuing and never-ending.

“I am asking on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours,” Jesus prayed.  And, my dear friend, includes not only our brothers and sisters of so long ago, but you and me.

As we navigate the difficult journey along the dark valleys of this Covid-19 season, let us remember that this too shall pass.  But, while we still are in the thick of struggle, let us remember that we have not been abandoned, but that God cares about each and every one of us.  And not only that.  We should remember that a this very time, Jesus is pleading our case before the throne of God.

“All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me… and so I am praying on their behalf,” said Jesus.  What else do we need know that Jesus, the Son of the Living God, our Savior and Master is praying for us, for you and me.

It is always good to remember that the final question is not if one has Jesus on his or her own heart, but knowing that we are in our Savior’s heart, mind, and prayers – for He cares for you and for me.

“What can we say about all this?  If God is on our side, can anyone be against us?”  asks St Paul.  And he answers himself – and for you and me – this way,  “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

And that, my friends, is Good News.  It was then, as it is now.  It was for the disciples, as it is for you and me.  Amen?

 

Fr. Gustavo,

The Rev. T. G. Mansella, Vicar
St. David’s Church
PO Box 125
11291 West River Road
Aylett, VA 23009-0125
+1 804 496 1002