Passover, Communion, and Covid-19

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Strangely, Covid-19 makes me think of Jesus at the Last Supper. 

Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, ate the Passover meal with His disciples. At that meal, He instituted the ordinance of Communion, still practiced by Christians worldwide today. We learn from Matthew 26:30, “Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.”

In the Passover Celebration, a collection of Psalms, called the Hallel, is sung throughout various parts of the meal. The closing Psalm is often Psalm 118 beginning with “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” 

This was possibly the last song of worship sung by Jesus before His crucifixion. And yet, He still chose to sing.

He sang knowing what was about to happen,

  • He knew He would be betrayed that very night.
  • He knew Peter would deny Him three times.
  • He knew He would go through a mockery of a trial.
  • He knew the crowds would cry out, “Crucify Him!”
  • He knew about the crown of thorns that would be placed on His head.
  • He knew He would be flogged, beaten, ridiculed, and crucified.
  • He knew He was going to die.

But He continued in faith, knowing and believing and demonstrating that the faithful love of the Lord endures forever.

No matter what.

I wish I had that kind of faith. 

I have to admit, my first thought regarding this pandemic is not the love of the Lord. Instead, it’s worry. I worry about whether or not I’m going to run out of toilet paper. I worry about whether or not we have enough food for two weeks, or four weeks, or eight weeks, or more. I worry about the health of my wife and I, about our parents and family, about my church family and friends, about my city and state and frankly, the whole world. 

I’m not alone. 

I see worry everywhere, on the faces of people, young and old. I see it in posts and tweets and newscasts and in articles. It’s everywhere.

How different would it be, though, if we tried to approach what’s happening with the faith demonstrated by Jesus as He sang the Hallel?

It’s going to stretch me, but today I choose to live by faith. 

I will give thanks to the Lord. I will remember that He is good. His love endures forever.

Care to join me?

Photo courtesy of Neil E. Johnson and Unsplash

Confessions from Birthday #49

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The rumors are true. Yesterday was my forty ninth birthday. I prefer to think of it as thirty nineteen.
As usual, I was in my annual birthday funk, outwardly appreciating the people who reached out to me with birthday wishes, cards, gifts, and food, but inwardly dreading the thought of getting older.
It’s not just adding a year to my age that’s bothersome, it’s the thought that I have lived another year without fully doing and being what and who I feel I need to be.
Basically, on my birthday, no matter what birthday, I’m usually disappointed with myself and where I am in life. In those times, I usually feel that everyone feels the same way, including the Lord.
But today, finally removed from my day of self torment, I remember His character, I remember His grace, and I remember His love. In Jeremiah 31, the Lord was quoted as saying, I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself. 
His love for us, including me, is everlasting. He has loved me with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31). God so loved me that He sent His only Son. (John 3:16)
God demonstrates His love for me in this, while I was still sinning against Him, Christ died for me. (Romans 5:8)
This is real love-not that I loved God, but that He loved me and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away my sins. (1 John 4:10)
He loves me so very much. He loves you in the same way, with an everlasting love. He loved you so much that He sent His only Son. He demonstrated His love for when Christ died for you while you were yet a sinner. This real love is not because you loved Him, but that He loved you and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away your sins.
However odd it may sound, I can sense Him speaking to you and I by singing the lyrics of this song by the late Fred Rogers:
It’s you I like.
It’s not the things you wear.
It’s not the way you do your hair,
But it’s you I like.
The way you are right now,
Way down deep inside you.
Not the things that hide you.
Not your toys, they’re just beside you.
 
And it you I like,
Every part of you.
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings,
whether old or new.
I hope that you’ll remember,
Even when you’re feeling blue.
That it’s you I like,
It’s you yourself, it’s you.
It’s you I like.
God doesn’t just like us, He loves us more than we’ll ever know.
He loves us with an everlasting love, even on our birthday.
#photo courtesy of Unsplash