Sermons on New Testament
In a conference-wide service, Bishop Grant Hagiya reflects on the current pandemic, grieving our losses but also asking how our slower pace and focus on simplicity can inform and enrich the “new normal” that is to come.
This Sunday, we launch into a new sermon series. Our current reality of social isolation in the midst of a pandemic is not the only example of widescale stress and anxiety on the human species. Psychologists and historians continue to point out that one expression of humanity seems constant across such periods of stress—creativity.
We’ve all heard it before: suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. I stand by my beliefs that God doesn’t want us to suffer and that suffering is not the way to salvation. At the same time, we can’t deny the fact that destruction is always somewhat a part of the reconstruction process. And death is part and parcel of the process for birth.
Setting aside the COVID-19 virus, I suggest we have already been in need of revival. Our world has seemed increasingly partisan. Surely, we have a feeling of being in the wilderness. We are seeking sustenance and refreshment. We are seeking God’s renewing and forgiving Spirit. We are in need of revival!
On Easter Sunday people all over the world celebrated in ways previously unimagined. There was a rise in telecasting while church pews remain empty. Only Jesus could bring forth life, life in abundance, from what some people say is a time of complete devastation.
This Sunday is Easter Sunday! While we continue to endure “social distancing,” we will celebrate online with a traditional service that includes hymns, lively music, a time for children, and a celebratory message from Pastors Lydia and Bob.
Rev. Lydia Sohn from St. Mark’s UMC will bring Sunday’s message and she shares the following: This is Palm Sunday, the day where we usher in Jesus as the King of the Jews and recognize his true authority. The people back then had no idea that Jesus’ kingdom would look vastly different from the political kingdoms of old and new. Jesus’ kingdom was about love, sacrifice, compassion, and service.
Rev. Jeri Newell-Davis from St. Mark’s UMC will bring Sunday’s message and she shares the following: Many of you may be feeling a bit anxious about staying indoors during this pandemic, and I don’t blame you. This is not what we are accustomed to. We are creatures of habit, people who like our freedom. But I know the pandemic will end and we will have the freedom to go about our routines once again. And we will give thanks when this season has ended.
In the midst of everything happening, our “social distancing” and even some of the blame taking place (some racial, some class-based, etc.) I have been continually reminded by a quote from Fred Rogers: “Look for the helpers.” In this time of isolation, we are reminded not to give in to the darkness, but to remember the light of Christ that shine’s within us all.
As we wrestle in the current COVID-19 pandemic with how to relate with one another, we might consider this alongside our ongoing series on gratitude and the illustration of the table.