Today is the 1st of April, traditionally a time when many of us would try and prank each other, and for many of us we would become the focus of a prank. It would be a time of humour. But today, for me, feels ever so slightly different. As the world comes to terms with what has happened since Christmas it has taken on a more serious note. Now humour definitely has its place, even in the hardest and harshest of times, it has a restorative power few things can match, it is a relief valve found in pressured environments – it is the gallows humour found in emergency response staff rooms up and down this country. Humour is so important, don’t let go of giving it or receiving it.

But today I have been made to pause and think about the fragility of life, and the temporary nature of all our journeys on this earth, because yesterday was the first day that COVID 19 struck closer to home than I would have liked. Yesterday I received the news that someone whom I knew quite well succumbed to the virus and was taken home to be with God. Until that moment I knew in my head how serious this was, but somehow my heart hadn’t quite caught up. That’s not true today. And I was reminded about the following verses in John 11:25-26

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

And in the current situation I wanted us to consider the last part of that verse – do we believe this? Because if we do then what have we to really fear? I know the pain of loss is not pleasant at all, and if we lose those who do not believe then that pain can be greater. Yet, for those who do believe we need to hold on fast to the verse above. And in doing so we are led to 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”

Our hope, and the hope of the person I knew who died, is centred on this truth and the truth found in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44. So should COVID 19 related death touch our lives closer than we would like, or we are fearful for our own life take heart. Yes, the pain of loss is hard, but for those who love and know the Lord Jesus, what comes after is amazing and beautiful….

“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; and it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”

Although I will miss the person that is gone I rejoice that know where they went and what they have received… it is not so much ‘farewell’, rather it is ‘see you later’

Until next time, be safe, be blessed.

Pastor James