Coming through the ‘valley of shadow of death’…
These have been anxious times as the world has been ravaged by the Covid-19 crisis. We did not see this one coming. Health care systems tested to the max or brought to their knees. The daily reports on death toll and hospital admissions were frightening. Patients described their excruciating pains and frightening lack of breath as ‘hell’. What a relief for those who have come through it!
How will societies adjust? That is difficult to predict. The virus could be with us for a while. Packed public gatherings may be something of the past. An effective vaccine could turn Covid-19 into something more ‘manageable’.
Would this mean going ‘back to normal’?
Jesus knew what was coming his way. He saw the crisis coming. ‘The Son of Man will suffer many things…..and be killed…’. Jesus knew when he was in the midst of it and it weighted heavy upon him. ‘His soul very sorrowful, even to death’. Betrayed, abandoned, maltreated, abused, Jesus experienced excruciating pains and then he died. Hastily buried, yet with dignity.
Jesus’ story took an unexpected turn. He is risen!! When we meet the Risen Lord our lives are changed forever. We cannot go back to how we were. We start to live for Him! How has the crisis changed us? What is the Spirit saying to the churches? For churches this has been both a time of testing and of learning. What lessons will stay with us this side of Easter? Have we not re-discovered who our neighbour is?
Whatever crisis we face, suffering and death will not have the final word. Never!
The Lord will journey with us thought any ‘valley of shadow of death’ till a victory meal is spread before us. What joy it will be to share in the Lord’s Supper again!
Thank you Lord Jesus!
Thanks be to God.
Paul Vrolijk – Easter 2020
Senior Chaplain and Canon Chancellor,
The Pro-Cathedral of Holy Trinity, Brussels (Anglican Church)