Do You Believe? I Have Come to Believe That You are the Christ, the Son of God

March 29, 2020

Belief has so many levels, so many heights and depths.  Consistent in almost all images of belief, is not only that it is tested, but that it is invited to re-prioritize our perspective of life.  In the past few weeks we have been invited, whether we like it or not, to re-prioritize and reset our compass for a new life.  In the stores that have had empty shelves, we find choices not only being taken from us but our perspective shift.  I used to be loyal to certain brands.  I like certain hot dogs and certain hot dog buns.  I feel the brand I like tastes the best.  Yet with little available on the shelves, any hot dog will do.  I used to like a certain brand of pasta, but with nothing left on a shelf, any pasta will do and it tastes so good.  We have moved from what tastes best to just being happy to have anything on the shelf we can purchase.  All of this in just two weeks.  My belief has changed from what is essential to my diet and in the way I want it, to cherishing every taste and texture of the food I am cooking.  This is a new place in which I find myself.  Brand names matter no more.  Not only have I settled for what was available, but I have learned to cherish it.  This is the new life and new world.

Jesus goes to the tomb of Lazarus and He weeps.  He encounters Martha and as they look at what is, they know all of what it can become.  Jesus brings about belief in an unimaginable way.  Jesus invites those gathered to see new life.  He asks Martha, “do you believe?”  He knows the answer, but seeing the answer is beyond comprehension.  What was is no more.  She will cherish time with Lazarus, she will deepen her trust, a trust that was already deep.  She believed that Jesus is the Son of God who has the power to bring new life.

The invitation of the Gospel is to cherish those things that really matter, such as our trust in Jesus and the time shared with those we love.  Our pandemic is inviting us to go with Martha to the tomb.  We are to re-profess our faith and know we will see with new eyes and a new heart the things that are new life.  When we do, we are to cherish them.  Martha was given more time with her brother.  In our Stay in Place, we are given more time to cherish those around us. We are given more time to reconnect with the essential, the beautiful and the wonderful.  We are to allow this to lead us to a conviction that the world and the virus cannot take away.  Jesus is Lord.  He is the Son of God and I do believe.

Reverend  John J. Ouper