Sunday Sermon May 19 2020
Our daughter teaches at a university in Amsterdam She’s good; she’s really good at what she does. How can she help it with those remarkable genes she inherited from her father and mother.
Earlier this week she was selected by her university to help lead a study on how the corona virus has affected students, faculty and staff.
I’ m really interested to learn what they find out.
Her new assignment gave birth to this meditation today. I’m wondering How has the virus affected you as an individual and your families? . If you will send your comments to June Schooley, our wonderful prayer chain lady, we will compile and publish them.
And how has the virus affected those of us who live in the United States. According to a study done by Pew Research a new Pew Research Center survey finds that the coronavirus outbreak is having profound impacts on the personal lives of Americans in a variety of ways. Nearly nine-in-ten U.S. adults say their life has changed at least a little as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, including 44% who say their life has changed in a major way.
About nine-in-ten U.S. adults (91%) say that, given the current situation, they would feel uncomfortable attending a crowded party. Roughly three-quarters (77%) would not want to eat out at a restaurant. In the midst of a presidential election year, about two-thirds (66%) say they wouldn’t feel comfortable going to a polling place to vote. And smaller but still substantial number express discomfort even with going to the grocery store (42%) or visiting with a close friend or family member in their home (38%).
How are people adapting their behavior in light of the outbreak? Four-in-ten working-age adults ages 18 to 64 report having worked from home because of coronavirus concerns – responsibilities.
Many Americans say they have changed religious habits due to coronavirus outbreak the virus also has impacted Americans’ religious behaviors. More than half of all U.S. adults (55%) say they have prayed for an end to the spread of coronavirus. Large majorities of Americans who pray daily (86%) and of U.S. Christians (73%) have taken to prayer during the outbreak – but so have some who say they seldom or never pray and people who say they do not belong to any religion (15% and 24%, respectively).
(59%) of Americans who regularly go to church now say they have scaled back their attendance because of the coronavirus – in many cases, presumably because churches and other houses of worship have canceled services. But this does not mean they have disengaged from collective worship entirely: A similar share (57%) reports having watched religious services online or on TV instead of attending in person. Together, four-in-ten regular worshipers appear to have replaced in-person attendance with virtual worship (saying that they have been attending less often but watching online instead).
And of course, the most significant statistic of all: As of today over 700,000 have been sickened by the virus with 38000 having perished.
It crosses my mind regularly Are we just at the beginning of a long siege. If we try to re-open our society will there be a new spike in cases? Are we in the middle of the crisis? How many more months will people not be able to work, be able to travel, be able to visit an elderly parent in a nursing home?
As I thought of these questions, I couldn’t help but think back on a memorable speech delivered by Winston Churchill in November 1942. Since the beginning of WWII in September, 1939 the British had to go it mostly alone in battling Nazi Germany. The French were useless. Early on Russia and the United States had yet to enter the war.
In Oct 1942 British forces drove out the Italian and German armies from North Africa, establishing control over Egypt and the Suez canal.
On Nov 23, 1943 Churchill stood up in thrust out his formidable chin and growled: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
This speech and other inspiring speeches delivered by the great Prime Minister rallied the British people, lifted their sagging spirits, and gave them hope for the future.
Don’t we need something like that in America today?
Well actually we have it. We have it in Romans chapter 5:
In Romans chapter 5 Paul writes this
Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to . Biblical hope never disappoints us because it’s always rooted in God’s faithfulness. It isn’t rooted in what we want. It isn’t rooted in our dreams or our schemes. Biblical hope transcends all of that because it is rooted in the immutable will of God. And God’s spirit, dwelling within us, continually prompts us to remember from whence our hope comes.
When we trust in God, we are given the hope that even if our plans and dreams must change, there is still goodness and mercy ahead all the days of our lives. When we trust our lives in grateful abandonment to our Creator, we are given the hope that nothing in life or death can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.