On this Third Sunday of Easter, the assigned text from Luke 24 helps us to face issues created by COVID-19. It tells of an event that takes place on the Road to Emmaus when Jesus appears to 2 followers. They do not recognize it is Jesus and He ask them what they were talking about before He joined them. Cleopas ask Him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” Jesus asks, “What things?” Cleopas detailed everything about Jesus’ arrest, beating, trial and crucifixion. He says, “WE HAD HOPED that He was The One who was going to redeem Israel.”
As I read those first 3 words “WE HAD HOPED;” I thought of the many hopes that have been dashed by COVID-19. Here is just 3. (1) My family has experienced 4 deaths since March 29. While none from COVID-19; social distancing dashed the hope of being with family, comforting one another which is an important part of grieving. (2) Nearly 50,000 families have been dashed with the loss of loved ones who died as result of COVID-19. (3) The hopes have been dashed of millions of High School Seniors who had envisioned these last 2 months of their secondary educational experience would be filled with memories of spring break, prom, graduation, and other fun memories.
At an impromptu communion Jesus did for these 2 followers, their hopes dashed became their promised realized when “… their eyes were opened, and the recognized Him.” (Luke 24:31) In Acts 2, Peter demonstrated what happens “When Hope Dashed Becomes the A Promise Realized.” In one sermon, 3000 welcomed the message of hope He preached and became followers of The Way.
COVID-19 has dashed a lot of hopes; but we are Easter People in a Good Friday World. Let us remember this is still Easter! Resurrection gets the last word!
God’s promise still lives: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) The promise has been realized for those who died. “We are confident, yes, well pleased that to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord.” (II Corinthians 5:8) As people of hope let us place it all in God’s hand!
Join us for virtual worship this Sunday at 11:30 AM by Zoom or Live Stream on Facebook as I will be preaching a sermon called “When Hope Dashed Becomes A Promise Realized” based on “Luke 24:13-35.