I have been preaching Good Friday and Easter Sunday sermons for the past, what, 40 years? Some years are harder than others. This will be a hard year. I am here praying and reflecting on what to preach this weekend. But my heart is heavy.
* Two young people dear to us, at the peak of their powers, are suddenly stricken with major health crises.
* More than 500 have been killed in Myanmar, including children. I know people in Myanmar — some who were my students, and some who are missionary friends and ministry partners. What is going to happen to them? The bloodletting doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.
* There have been killings in Malawi and in any number of hotspots around the world, including a growing number of attacks on Asians in some countries (why attack women and the elderly??). And I am fully aware that any race can be guilty of racism and victims come in many colours.
* The number of Covid deaths continues to climb but Covid has been around long enough to numb us to the numbers until someone we know dies of it.
* It seems every week I get news of people I know who have died: This week, a Filipino pastor I was privileged to work with when I was ministering in First Baptist Church, Petaling Jaya, and a respected practitioner/teacher from dental school in Singapore.
With all the above and more on my heart, I am expected to stand before people and parade the usual arguments and implications of the Cross and the Resurrection??
Sometimes I wish I could press a button and fast forward to that time of history described in Revelation 21 and 22 — no more death, no more sickness, no more tears, no more injustice, no more sin, no more evil, no more loneliness, no more despair, a creation repaired and renewed, and God with us. But there is no such button. Not even with God. He acts in the “fullness of time” and He decides when that is, even if we disagree with Him.
Again! Again, we are called to radical trust. Again, we are called to remember that we walk on the Emmaus Road and we may not always be aware of His presence but that He walks with us. There are 24 hours in Good Friday. There are 24 hours in Holy Saturday. There will be no short cuts to Easter. In faith let us continue to walk this “vale of tears”. And see what happens.
So, please pray for me as I preach this weekend. I am the one who needs to hear the sermons.