Tomorrow New City Church will not gather together in assembly to worship Jesus corporately. Instead, at 9:30 we will be the “scattered assembly” as each household remains isolated. We will check this website for songs to sing, for a Scripture reading, for an opportunity to give, and for a word of encouragement from J-T. We all recognize that this is not how it’s supposed to be.
The latest count shows another 32 people died in Michigan yesterday. Fathers. Mothers. Brothers. Sisters. Sons. Daughters. Cousins. Neighbors. Best friends. Bowling buddies. Whether you knew one of the 32, or one of the 92 who have died in Michigan to date, each of these losses is a great loss. We often use language such as “Grandma is finally free of her suffering” or “He’s in a better place” as a means of comforting ourselves and others. There is truth to this, yet death remains our enemy. We must never celebrate its victories. Instead, we lament them and we mourn them.
We do so in hope-filled expectation of death’s own death. One day it will die. That day is the day of resurrection, when our resurrected Lord, the very one who has already defeated death by rising from the grave, will return and will raise his people from their graves and they—we—will put on immortality. Death will one day be defeated forever and will never again win a battle against one of God’s image-bearers.
That day has not yet come and so we mourn and we lament and we curse this dreaded virus that has claimed 92 persons in Michigan, over 1,700 nationwide, and countless others worldwide.
Today, let’s pray for those who are working feverishly to find a vaccine or even a cure. Let’s pray for those who are on the front lines fighting this terrible disease. Let’s pray for the exhausted healthcare workers in New York and in Detroit and in Italy and Spain and China, all those who perhaps haven’t seen their family in days or weeks because they are working to save as many people as they can.
Let’s pray in hopeful expectation that the God who defeated death will enable us to defeat this terrible virus. Let’s pray in hopeful expectation that his kingdom will come, that his will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Let us continue to pray for one another, for our continued faithfulness in the midst of isolation, for God to provide for all our needs, for our faith to be strengthened in the midst of pain and hardship.
Whatever “victories” death claims, whatever hardships come our way, whatever illnesses and diseases strike us, whatever suffering we experience, we know it has an expiration date. Jesus is coming. His name is Victory. Let us pray for his return.