As a pastor, I have never faced such difficult dilemmas as those presented in the past year by the pandemic.
Deciding whether or not the congregation should meet on Easter, one of the highest days of the Christian faith, was not something I had ever imagined.
I am still amazed at how a virus that we could not see and symptoms that are sometimes not easily detectable brought one of our highest holy days to a halt. Researchers are still baffled about where the virus came from and how it got here.
Instead of celebrating a season when we have come to expect an influx of people seeking comfort, peace, community, hope and transformation, we had to tell people to stay home, stay safe and stay socially distant. We had little explanation to give to people, but God saw us through.
This reminded me of the faith in which we preach.
We had to find creative ways to express our faith. We became a virtual church for a victorious Christ. Zoom calls replaced our zealous cries. YouTube and conference calls became consultations for the committed in an effort to stay connected.
We had to be safe but sensible, factual but not fearful, wise but not worried, informed but inspired, clear but confident and distant but not discouraged.
I quickly learned that we do not live by explanations. We live by faith.
Every problem relates in some way to our faith — even COVID-19. Our faith has to be able to withstand even the toughest virus.
Where reason cannot wade, our faith must be able to swim. Where reason cannot lead, our faith must be willing to follow.
I heard Aretha Franklin sing: “Walk in the light, beautiful light. Come where the dewdrops of mercy shine bright. Shine all around us by day and by night. Jesus the light of the world.”
Faith is walking in the light because he is in the light. John 1:7 says: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."
Despite lockdowns and quarantines, Christians must continue to look forward to celebrating Resurrection Sunday, whether in person or online.
Faith is not faith in faith, but rather faith is in the person of Christ. All across the globe, God is still summoning his people to stay true to the faith.
Faith is the confidence that what God has said is true, and God will perform it.
Faith without hope is dead. You cannot have a legitimate faith and not have hope. The two must not be separated.
Faith enables the believing soul to treat the future as present and the invisible as seen. The world says seeing is believing, but the Word says believing is seeing.
Our hope is in seeing our Resurrected Savior.
Brown is pastor of Mount Zion First Baptist Church