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May 19, 2020

“Jesus replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.'” Acts 1:7

How long will this last? This question is never far from the surface. We think about the pandemic constantly. When will we be able to open back up? Will events be impacted this autumn? Next spring? Will things ever be the same?

A desire to know the future is unavoidable. When this manifests as anticipatory excitement, well and good. However, a desire to know more than is given to us lies at the root of human sin. Just as the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was forbidden, so is knowledge of the future closed off to us. Some things are God’s alone to know.

Shortly before Jesus ascended into heaven, his disciples asked if the time had finally come to restore the kingdom of Israel. Jesus’s answer? That’s not for you to know.

But Jesus doesn’t stop there. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. While we may not know the future, we have been given the Spirit, God’s presence within and around us. In the Spirit there is power. Power to leave tomorrow to God; power to do the work set before us today.

In this power, we witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ, a gospel for the whole earth. While we wait for God to bring in the kingdom, we live kingdom-centered lives today. Lives that are attuned to Christ in faith; lives that are attuned to the needs of our neighbors.

I don’t know when we’re going to open up. To me, it makes sense to take our time. In this way, we safeguard the health and well-being of those most susceptible to illness. Of course, I’m not a scientist or a policy maker. But I am filled with the Holy Spirit, and so are you. We have power to act today while we wait for tomorrow to unfold. In Christ, we know the end of the story, and that’s more than enough to sustain our faith.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God of the future, you hold all times and seasons in your hands. Give me faith to trust the future to you, and to witness to your goodness in the present. Grant wisdom to those who shape our response to this pandemic and courage to your church to live for the sake of others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Christi Himmelfahrt from the Rabula Gospels, a sixth-century illuminated Syriac Gospel Book (public domain).

From → COVID-19

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