You are more precious than gold
The challenge of life is not the known, the familiar or the things we’ve lived/experienced previously. The challenge of life is the unknown, unexpected, the things that catch us off guard and the unimaginable that often hit us like a two-by-four. In many ways, I thought I knew the ground rules of the world I’ve lived and ministered in as a pastor with 30 years of ministry experience. Clearly, I don’t. Everything has changed.
How can this be? Nobody, asked my permission [and I suspect yours]to change the rules or the common understandings that we have in our society. Yet, here we are. The most recent COVID-19 reports state that we now have more than 1.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, 430,271 [growing by the hour] of them are in the United States. Our daily death toll in the USA is continuing to grow. As of April 8, 2020 [7:45 p.m.] there has been 14,738 deaths in our country.
Please continue to honor the social distancing norms that are part of the “Shelter in Place” order. The guidelines literally call us to be 6 feet away from others, to wear masks when going out or interacting with someone other than your family and to use plastic gloves to protect yourself and your families from a virus that can live up to 3 days on metal and plastic. Oh, why don’t you stop reading this and go wash your hands for 30 seconds? You can always come back and read “the rest of the story.” Did that sound like a suggestion? I’m serious. Go wash your hands. If you need someone to be mad at for reminding you then blame me.
In this Holy Week leading to Easter Sunday, the Coronavirus has challenged us to be creative and learn to share the “Good News” in new, comfortable and not so comfortable ways. We’ve been forced to imagine a new way of being church that is outside the walls of the building we’ve known as “church”. Look at the hymn, “WE are the church” it reminds us that the church is not a building. This new way of being the church together allows others as we welcome them to join us through live-steaming, Facebook Live and other means.
I certainly am grieving celebrating Holy Week and Easter. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be. If you feel like me then you too are grieving the loss of doing Easter, the “way we’ve always done it.” Those are valid feeling. Honor what you are feeling but I encourage you not to stay stuck in the grieving aspects of this moment. Likewise, if you are feeling lonely and sad, I encourage you to reach out to your loved ones, those you trust and/or your pastor. Don’t attempt to carry this burden yourself. You are loved and there are many of us available to bring love and light to your lives.
Remember, Easter is not about a specific date. Easter is, and always has been, about God’s redemptive love for humanity as lived out and modeled by the love of Jesus for all of humanity. Easter reminds us, I trust, that we are loved. You have always been loved despite all that life has thrown at you. You will always be loved. God loves you. God knows we are human. God gets it, we mess things up at times – lots of times. That’s not the point.
The point is that regardless of your gifts, graces, talents, flaws, disappointments and the interactions we have all had that have not been grace filled; God doesn’t turn away from us or stops loving us. Resurrection will occur because God is still God. It will also occur to help us remember the many ways that we have been and are being resurrected by God’s passionate love for us even if we think that we are unlovable.
Please don’t ever forget that-You are more precious than gold. The pain and agony of Friday is coming but Sunday is on its way. Nothing can stop RESURRECTION.
Rev. Justo González, II
Interim Conference Minister
Ministro de la Conferencia Interino