Rev Dr Rene F Brown Mt Zion FBC courtesy.jpg (copy)

Pastor Rene F. Brown

On Monday, March 30, I received an alert on my phone that I would be returning from Jerusalem. It would have been my fifth trip to the Holy Land, however, due to the coronavirus, I had to cancel my trip earlier in the month.

In light of COVID-19, I was wondering how it had impacted the Holy Land. Earlier in the week, I received an email message about a virtual tour of Jerusalem. For the first time in world history, the church will not be able to gather for Easter or Resurrection Sunday.

Every spring, the streets of Jerusalem are bursting with Jewish and Christian pilgrims ready to celebrate Passover and Easter. This year, the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan also begins in April. What a coincidence — three major religions celebrating at the same time.

People go to the Holy Land to visit the Tower of David, Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque.

This year, that won’t be possible due to the devastating COVID-19 global pandemic. However, it will make us reexamine why we go to buildings and what we do when we arrive there.

During this season, millions of people turn to prayer and to Jerusalem. Millions of prayers and dreams of people from all over the world have been caught between the towers, spires and domes of the city for thousands of years. The city has given hope and inspiration for centuries.

Despite lockdowns and quarantines, Christians will continue to find creative ways to exercise their faith.

You may stop the pageantry of Easter, but you cannot stop Resurrection Sunday! I am sure you remember this was tried over 2000 years ago but “He Still Got Up!"

All across the globe God is still summoning his people to stay true to the faith.

As the world faces a crisis like we’ve never seen before, God is calling us from across the globe to step up and bring leadership to our homes, churches and communities.

Let’s seek the Lord’s direction during this challenging season. We should be safe but sensible, factual not fearful, wise not worried, distant not discouraged. We should be informed and inspired, clear and confident.

We are looking for the medicine when we should be looking for the Messiah.

We are looking for the vaccine when we should be looking for the victory.

We are looking for a shot when we should be looking for the savior.

We are looking for an injection when we should be looking for illumination.

I strongly believe that we will say like the psalmist in Psalms 118:23: "The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes."

God is doing great work; we just have to join in with him to complete it.

Brown is pastor of Mount Zion First Baptist Church in Baton Rouge and president of the Fourth District Missionary Baptist Association.