Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
It may seem strange that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am feeling so very grateful. It goes against expectations, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t we be worried and fearful in times such as these?
Not at all! Paul wrote the verses above as he concluded his letter to the church at Thessalonica. Especially now, I hang on to his imperative to “give thanks in every situation.” There is so much for which to be grateful during this time.
I am thankful that I have safe water, heat, electricity, phone and computer connections which make my life so much easier. I can still keep in touch with people. I can still see them in videos and photos that they post.
I am thankful that people are being much more intentional about calling one another and sending notes and letters. These forms of keeping in touch with one another seem to be disappearing in our technological age, but new life is breathing into them right now.
I am thankful that we can still worship, even though it feels very different. We have people worshiping with us online and others that watch it later. I can see others preach that are friends and colleagues as they are also going online with worship. I can worship with a new community most every moment of the day if I so choose. How awesome is that?
I am thankful that we are in the season of Lent when our focus was already on drawing closer to God. I feel much closer to God in these days as I have truly been pushed into relying on God’s guidance for all these new ways of being church. And the church is being church in the world wherever people find themselves. This is always true, but so much more intentional and much more noticed in these days.
Most of all I am thankful for God who loves us so much that he sent his Son, Jesus, to show us what loving God and one another is all about. He died for my sin. He died for your sin. And nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus. The Holy Spirit is hard at work in my heart and soul to lead, guide and encourage.
This year, as we approach the celebration of life over death and love over sin, when we remember the empty tomb, let us be more thankful than ever that Jesus died so we might live, now and for eternity.