SOME WORDS ABOUT FAITH AND COVID-19 FROM ST. MATTHEW’S WHITE PLAINS
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Alleluia; Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed. Alleluia!
My brothers and sisters in Christ, a few months ago I shared with you my introductory blog just a few weeks before Christmas. We at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church were preparing the way of the Lord. With much excitement, as a community of faith, we celebrated the liturgical season of Advent and Christmas with a German Service, Christmas Caroling on the steps of our Church, a holiday party with arts and crafts, a Christmas Eve and Christmas Day service, a Candlemas service that brightened our sanctuary as candles adorned the aisles and altar, and last, but not least, the installation of your new pastor. Truly, my brothers and sisters in Christ, the light of Christ shines bright in, with and among each of us, and also on the corner of Carhart and Mamaroneck Avenues.
As we celebrated the season of Epiphany, little did we know that the light of hope that shines brightly within each of us, was going to be attempted to be blown out during the season of Lent. We have all become witnesses of how faithful and amazing our God is in each of our lives, and in the life and ministry of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church.
With many activities planned for the liturgical season of Lent, a time of repentance, prayer, fasting and alms giving, who would have ever thought that our lives would be impacted and our faith would be tested as a result of the modern-day plague God’s creation has been confronted with, COVID-19.
As a child of God, I have always been a strong believer that God’s time is perfect, and the power of God will prevail. But how will the power of God prevail in the midst of a national crisis, in the midst of us journeying in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights, being quarantined, socially distancing ourselves from each other, protecting our loved ones and isolating ourselves from all, as only essential places and people are called to expose themselves while being placed at the frontlines of this epidemic and serving all in need.
God bless each of our essential workers, God bless their families, friends and colleagues. God Bless you. It seems as if life has come to a complete halt. It seems as we are living in the twilight zone. It seems as if God’s time has continued but we have been called to stop our daily routines and listen to how precious we are, how delicate we are as beings, and how important we are for each other, maintaining our distance yet longing to see and be with each other, care and embrace each other, worship and pray with one another. Even in the midst of our being apart from each other, with houses of worship having to close their doors temporarily, for the safety of all of God’s people, God continues to be at the center of our lives. God continues to bring us closer to each other rather than drawing us apart. God continues to overcome evil and the power of God shines even brighter as Jesus, the Son of God, overcomes death from the grave for the salvation of us all.
Our journey, our Lenten journey, has been one of hopelessness, uncertainty, lowliness and temptation; however, God’s time is perfect and at this time we liturgically continue the celebration of joyful and victorious Easter, the Resurrection of our Lord. It is with those words of comfort that hope fills our hearts and minds, where we are certain that the power of God prevails, now and always, where we as a community have been called to isolate ourselves. However, by the power of God, by the dedication, love, ambition and willingness of our community of faith, we have been able to come closer together as a community of faith.
I strongly believe that God’s time is perfect and God’s will is truly being done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Even in the midst of a national crisis, people losing their jobs, financial struggles, individuals with no medical coverage, a time where many if not all are grieving the loss of another human being, concerned for those who are at the frontline serving all of God’s people, the power of God prevails and we exclaim as one people of faith: Alleluia, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed; Alleluia!
My brothers and sisters in Christ, continue to do God’s work with your hands. Continue to trust, believe and seek the power and presence of God in your life and share the Good News of God with each other, as we draw closer to God, individually yet as one united body of Christ.
We at St. Matthew’s have much to be grateful for as we have worshipped virtually as a community of faith and have welcomed many to join as we give praise to our God at this time. May the dazzling, shining light of our resurrected Christ shine brightly on this day and the days ahead, for this moment of uncertainty and darkness shall pass, and the presence of God will remain with us all, as we are led and guided in the name of Jesus.
God’s work with our hands must continue not individually but cohesively and as a community of faith, we here at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church will accomplish that. God be with you and your families and stay connected with us, both physically and virtually, as we explore creative ideas to continue events and worship experiences in the name of Jesus. Alleluia, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed; Alleluia! Peace be with you.
Rev. Jonathan J. Recabarren