It was time for a reset...

April 30, 2020

Resets in life can be a blessing, and I believe our whole world needed a reset when it comes to the way we look at life and its culmination.

 

The disciples needed a reset, too on that first Easter eve.  They could not believe or even understand how they had come from point A to point B.  They had had Jesus with them every day.  They ate with Him, they walked and talked with Him, they spoke of the future with Him.  And yet now they are locked behind closed doors out of fear of the Jews for their own lives!  The women had come back and told them that they had seen the Lord!  The disciples were running back from Emmaus with the news that they, too, had seen Jesus.  And now He is standing in their midst proclaiming peace and sending them out to forgive the sins of the world.   The disciples needed a reset on everything they had planned in life.

 

One of the things I have heard repeatedly this past month is that many things may never go back to the way they were before.  Perhaps that is true for a wide spectrum of things, but I believe that not all these changes are negative.

 

Yes, there will be some things gone with a bid of sad nostalgia.  The time-honored idea of a firm handshake and a look in the eye and perhaps a hug seem to be gone or at least on the back burner for a while.  Mass gatherings will return, but I am not so sure it won’t take a while for the fear to dissipate and people to freely return to the sports arenas and restaurants.

 

When things get shaken it is a blessing to reset our lives and put things back in perspective.  All of this may have taught us that life is not as plannable or controllable as we would like to convince ourselves.  Amidst all that we have gone through this past month or two, perhaps we can each take a little time, make a few lists, and re-evaluate what is essential and what can go by the wayside or at least occupy a spot a little lower down the list.

 

So here are some of my thoughts of what is a priority:

 

1:  Church.  I cannot wait to join with my brothers and sisters in Christ to thank, sing, pray, and receive from the Lord His gifts.  I understand when people say to me that  we still have the Word and many more opportunities to hear, mark, learn, and inwardly digest it, than people did years ago.  That is true, but, frankly, having those things is not the same as our gathering together.   The line “I don’t have to go to church to be saved” is one thing when gathering is an option, but that quip takes on a different flavor when going to church is not an option.   Preaching to empty pews drives home the point that it is the gathering of the faithful together around the Word and Sacrament that is so very vital to the ebb and flow of life’s little day! 

 

The fact is we need Jesus, and we need to gather in His presence to receive and encourage one another, as we see the last day approaching.  It is a great blessing and gift of God that we are given a reset regarding the place of church and the divine service and the fellowship of believers on our list.  Perhaps we have even been afforded the opportunity to say, enough of the small stuff - the pettiness!  Receiving Word and Sacrament together as a body of believers is our heartbeat and our life.  All else is of little or no consequence in eternal life.

 

2:  Family and friends.  You may say you are ready for your space back, and I understand.  At the same time, I will say that I feel blessed to have been able to look forward to coming home to the whole clan again.  All the false gods of this world have been stripped away and all their promises of happiness questioned.  None of them - sports, politics, restaurants, etc. have the power to give me any more than I have right now.  It is a blessing to recognize that. 

 

 

3:  Work.  Work is a blessing, a gift of God!  I do not think that people will look at work and where we work in the same way again.  To be shut down and told you are not needed or to wonder every day if you will work tomorrow is horrible.  Work is a gift, not a drudgery.

 

As things begin to return to the schedule of life, I believe that this whole turn of events may have been a blessing by being the only thing that could force us all to stop, look at our life, and ask those deeper questions that we are so good at ignoring.

 

Do you want peace?  Do you want security? Where is your life with God and others?  Do you want family and friends from which you can never be separated?  You will only find that where Jesus, the forever living Lord, is in our midst.  When the church doors open again – and they will – I look forward to seeing you and perhaps some faces we have not seen!  I am confident that the Easter Joy will put a little more veracity into our Words – The LORD be with YOU, and with Thy Spirit!  RESET!  What a great dawn of a new day.

 

Christ is Risen Alleluia!

 

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. [1]

 

IN Christ Jesus, 

 

Pastor Oster

 

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Heb 10:19–25). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

 

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