From the Pastor's Pen

Pastor Sally’s Devotional L

| April 21, 2020

Dear friends, 

I recently studied the 13th chapter of Mark with both Bible study groups on Monday night and Wednesday morning.  Mark 13 is tough scripture to understand.  It’s called the short apocalypse and includes Jesus’ predictions of events to come, both in the near future and in the last days.  It is actually the near future events that I find most compelling because today we are looking at those events in the rear view mirror.  Here’s a section of one of these near future predictions:

“When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak.”  Mark 13: 14 – 16

Jesus was talking about the coming war with Rome and about Roman soldiers and murderers standing in holy Temple of God causing it to be desecrated. So dangerous was this time to come that Jesus urged his followers to flee to the mountains, and in fact, when Rome did descend on Jerusalem with swords and horses, the early Christians did run for their lives!  They fled to the city of Pella and the church survived, in large part, because they did flee.

I have often considered the terrible times suffered by our forebearers and have given thanks that I did not have to endure such hardships.  I’m glad I did not have to live through the devastation in Europe during WWII.  I’m glad I did not live in the days of the Bubonic plague.  I’m glad I was not put to the test in the persecution of Christians in the late 3rd century and early fourth century when hundreds were martyred for their faith. 

Whereas the coronavirus does not compare to the adversity in the situations I have just listed, I find this particular crisis to probably be the most significant of my lifetime so far.  As of today there have been 175,412 deaths worldwide (44,120 in the United States) and we’re no where close to seeing the end of this.  I can’t image what happens when this takes hold in Africa.  This is all quite apart from the economic damage we will be digging out of for years to come.  We are living in one of the major crises of our time.  It’s hard to wrap my mind around this notion.

In such difficult times, I find it helpful to remember what people of faith did in the days of old.  They largely met these challenges with a combination of courage, compassion for those suffering around them and faith in God.  This is our time to be people of character; to face our particular difficulties with courage, with great compassion for those hardest hit by this virus and with faith in God for the future.  God does not disappoint.  I am grateful to be walking through these days with the good people of First Presbyterian.


Pr. Sally

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