A Spiritual Fitness message from the ROA National Chaplain
Exodus 12 / Gospel of John 20
We are in the season of the calendar year when two very important worship events are highlighted -- The Passover and Easter. These epoch times are important to those of the Jewish and Christian Faiths. From their miraculous happenings they have been major points of testimony, recognition and historical anchors. They are not only important to persons of faith but in the world as a whole.
Both of these historical acts in 2020 will be remembered much differently than at any time since world WWI because of two world shaking events. Passover and Easter will be celebrated and worship will occur but in extremely small groups—perhaps with family or electronic video. Market places will be empty. There will be little or no traffic in the streets. Smiles will be hidden by facial masks.
Social distancing will mean no hugs, shaking hands, or other habitual forms of greetings. One is a very disrupted economic circumstance which has shifted from a three-year thriving recovery to a sudden crunch. Second is an outbreak of a disease of pandemic proportion. Both are connected and both are wreaking havoc and lots of “unknowns” into our lives. Both are not new for there have been periods of economic disappointments and there have been diseases of pandemic proportions before 2020. Both can bring extra baggage of blaming, accusations and criticism of responses but the world has been here before.
The great difference today is that we have so much more technology, medicine, ready-made information, instant communication and excellent collaboration and terrific opportunities which can be applied. It is a time when we apply our faith in God and His intervention into our lives. It is a time when we recognize that we live in an unshakable kingdom and an unchanging God.
The God of the days of the Passover and the God of Easter has not changed. History is on our side and these battles have been fought before. God hears the cries of His people. He opens our eyes to see when we ask of Him. He delivers His people and He stills storms. He uses us when we allow Him to do so. He brings comfort and hope in the middle of turmoil.
My mother told me the story of my great grandfather as she showed me a picture of her mother’s family. It was one of those black and white well-worn photos taken in the front yard of their home with the mother and father seated and the children (six of them) surrounding “mom and dad.” She said that her grandfather wanted to serve in the War but became ill and could not. Then she said this, "while his desire was to serve our country in time of war, he fought the flu and we had nothing with which to fight this invisible disease."
Doctors and medicine did everything possible but he died of the flu epidemic the day the War ended. Wow! She shared with me how tough it was - but - she said the families “hung together,” shared responsibility and their values and character never faltered. It was really difficult for them but both wars came to an end. There were numerous causalities from both but with broken hearts and unwavering faith they all charged on.
Today, this is happening again but God has not changed, His Kingdom is unshakable, microscopes are better, hospitals are numerous, medical teams are better educated and qualified than ever before, communication is nearly instantaneous, testing is as never before. We are witnessing the amazing cooperation of benevolent governments and the genius deliverance of free-enterprise.
It is not just America in this conflict but the entire world needs YOU-your prayers, your optimism, your gifts and graces, your talents, your energy, your “Call to Duty”-and bring with you your “go bag” with courage, faith, teamwork. While we do face grief, as every generation does, we do not need to be defeated just because something is unseen.
I have also learned that grief is a love word. We are able to grieve because we are able to love. It may frighten us but long ago I learned that courage is not without fear. It is doing the right thing in spite of my fears.
I bow in awe before the Living God, thankful for so many whom have gone before us to include our first responders, law enforcement persons, medical professionals, neighbors, friends, our fire fighters plus our men and women in uniformed services, truck drivers, farmers, infra-structure specialists and the list of Americans stepping forward to do and be all they can be goes on and on. May God bless America and may we be worthy of His favor.
Until next time.
Retired Chaplain (Col.) Sherman R. Reed
Army Reserve Ambassador, Emeritus, ROA National Chaplain