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May 5, 2020

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Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, and good night! 

Pastor Andrew here once again to offer encouragement and grace.

I have to confess that sometimes when I write these devotionals, I’m welled up with all sorts of emotions.  Sometimes I sit down to write to you all, and I don’t want to.  It’s as if I am standing at the edge of a great sea and somehow I’m supposed to share with you the depths of mystery it holds; I can’t do that!  However, each time I sit to write to you, God provides life and grace and encouragement to me, and I come away with joy and sorrow both shaping my heart towards Christ and towards you all. 

Since March 23, we’ve been asked to shelter in home in order to team up with medical providers, of which my wife is one, to slow the spread of Covid-19 and to give hospitals a chance to keep up with the increasing numbers of people who need medical care.  From the beginning, we knew it wouldn’t lower the number of people infected, but it was to stagger the surges in a way that’s manageable for our medical staff.

But since then, it has felt like everything has fallen apart.  Relationships have erupted because one has been accused of undervaluing life and another is accused of undervaluing freedom.  Some are called naïve and others selfish.  A widening divide has consumed our conversations, our thoughts, our energies, our efforts…. 

Since the coronavirus arrived in the United States, tens of thousands of men, women, and children have lost their lives and millions of lives have been turned upside down in one way or another.  

It seems as I stand on the edge of this great sea, the more its waters are stirred, the more I see a broken world in need of a risen Christ.  Maybe you’ve seen the same thing.  Actually, I’m sure you have.  But I want to remind us of a coming hope of which we experience as only a shadow.  

We may feel as if we are drowning in this great sea, but there is a silhouette like the belly of a beast swimming above to remind us of an unbelievable truth: Christ. Is. Still. Risen!  Christ whose love is good but is not tame!

God laments over this broken world and the suffering of His creation and yet knows of the joys that are yet to come in the New Creation and the Resurrection!  

Rom. 8:18    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

In this present suffering, God is planting seeds in our lives! Seeds that will reveal to us and to the world a future hope we have in an already risen Christ!   Look for the seeds being planted in your lives and in the lives around you.  Seeds that seem to drive you to sacrifice for others.  Seeds that for some reason compel you to love others who have not shown you love.  Seeds that for some reason drive you to love others as you love yourself!  Seeds are being planted, and now is the hard work of recognizing them however small they may be. 

I want you to know you are loved and cherished.  You are loved by your pastors, by your staff here at Community, and most importantly by a wonderful God.

I leave you with these words from Andrew Peterson’s song The Sower’s Song:

As the rain and the snow fall
Down from the sky
And they don't return but they water the earth and they bring forth life
Giving seed to the sower, and bread for the hunger
So shall the word of the Lord be with a sound like thunder
And it will not return, it will not return void
It will not return, it will not return void
It will not return, it will not return void
We shall be led in peace
And go out with joy

And the sower leads us
And the sower leads us
And the sower leads us

Look for the Seeds

With peace,
Pastor Andrew
andrew@commref.org

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