Christ Has Died, Christ Is Risen, Christ Will Come Again!

Are you tired of talking about COVID-19 yet? It has consumed our lives for the past weeks as we’ve been forced to weather a storm of uncertainty regarding our lives, our health, our livelihoods, and our friends and loved ones.

If I’m honest, some days I feel like I never anticipated this disruption to our lives going on so long.  We’re always pretty bold as Americans.  We can handle anything. We can knock out any enemy that comes at us no matter what enemy that is.  We tend to live relatively comfortable lives – at least in comparison to many people around the world.

Now it is true that on some days I feel like I never anticipated that this disruption would last so long and on other days, I’ll be honest and say that I’m not surprised at all.  I’m a news junkie and have been my whole life.  I was the only 4 year old in my pre-school class who could tell you that Michael Dukakis was running against George Bush Sr. for president in 1988.  

I only mention this to say that if you’ve paid attention to the experts who have spent their careers studying viruses and pandemics you would have heard that our lives were going be disrupted for at least a few months as we worked to get things under control and make things safer for us to live with this virus in our midst. So it shouldn’t be too surprising that here we are in May – still feeling the disruptions to our lives.

As I think about both of these feelings I think I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter so much whether I could anticipate the length of time that our lives would be disrupted. I think what matters more is that I couldn’t anticipate what it would feel like to have our lives disrupted for so long.

A couple of weeks might be inconvenient, but they passed rather quickly.  Yet, by my count, we’ve had eight Sundays in a row that we’ve gathered in our living rooms, our kitchens, our bedrooms, maybe even out on the deck to look at the small screen of a phone or a tablet – or maybe the larger screen in our living room to gather for worship.

From the pastor’s side – we’re gathering in an empty sanctuary. We’re leading the liturgy while staring at empty pews, we’re preaching into a small camera without getting to see faces, we’re missing the kids coming up for the children’s message.

Personally, I miss the interactions – I miss getting to see the people at Trinity – I miss having Bible studies where I actually get to hear people respond rather than just reading their response on a screen.  I miss everything about our regular life together as God’s people.

Our whole lives have been disrupted and flipped on their heads.  Nothing is as it was ten or eleven weeks ago. Even while restrictions loosen, and some things start opening back up again, the reality is that it will be a long time before we feel like things have returned to “normal and we feel comfortable being out in public around groups of other people. It will take some time before we’re able to live without a sense of uncertainty about what is coming next.

Even as Christians we face this uncertainty every day during this pandemic. We face social uncertainties from being unable to be with friends and family like we’d like to do. We face economic uncertainties over our jobs, our financial situation, we face health uncertainties both for potentially contracting COVID-19 as well as just dealing with regular, ongoing health issues. Tack on loneliness and fatigue from the changes and the list is endless.

Jesus says to you in John 14, “Let not your hearts be troubled…” Now you might be thinking, “Sure Jesus, easy for you to say”.  Or you might think that this doesn’t actually apply because things are too scary or crazy. Or that this is just another Christian cop out to ignore true pain and suffering that is taking place in our lives and in the world around us.

Let me assure you that there is nothing further from the truth. This is true, legitimate, confident hope and comfort that we receive out of the mouth of Jesus himself.  It isn’t just some trite platitude that we spout off to say that you shouldn’t be feeling the way that you’re feeling. You’re definitely experiencing a variety of feelings associated with this time and that’s fine. But, even in the midst of our feelings, we live with guaranteed promises from God.  The only one who doesn’t ever break his promises and always keeps them.

Our confidence comes from knowing Jesus – the way – the truth – and the life.
There is an Easter acclimation that the church has used to help us remember this hope and comfort that we have.  It goes like this – Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. A phrase that perfectly summarizes where our focus and trust should be right now.

Christ has died for your sins. Jesus’ death on the cross was sufficient to forgive every sin that you have ever committed.  All of Jesus’ perfect life and righteousness was given to you through his death and the blood that was shed.

Christ is risen.  In this Easter season we especially celebrate this fact, however, it is something that we can and should celebrate all year long. Jesus Christ is not dead. He is alive. There were over 500 witnesses to this fact. He has now ascended to heaven.

Christ will come again. This is what we’re waiting for right now.  Jesus to return.  Jesus has promised that he will come back – and not only that he has promised to be with us always – until the end of the age.

So as we continue to navigate this new normal – rest always in this confidence – Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Tom Schlund