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7 Browley Street, Moss Vale NSW 10am Sunday Worship Service
The headline didn’t shout. It didn’t need to. This wasn’t a slow news day. It read, ‘In one week 10 percent of Australia’s workforce have lost their jobs’. In India, a nation of 1.3 billion people was given four hours notice to lock down inside their homes for 21 days. People found outside afterwards were subsequently beaten.
Always, in the world somewhere, there’s an extreme situation – a flood, a famine, a war. Less frequent, though, are situations involving the whole world. The COVID-19 virus pandemic is such a time.
Perhaps, for Australians, the shock has been greater than for those who live with poverty and uncertainty every day. Now, we share that experience… anxious about what happens if we catch the virus or whether we’ll have a job or even if society will hold together. So far, our government has met these fears with hope – with a program of social isolation and the ‘JobKeeper’ and ‘JobSeeker’ packages.
But it would be a mistake to put all our ‘hope eggs’ in the government basket. Australians, indeed all people, need a hope that transcends the weaknesses of governments. We need a hope that lasts beyond death. And the only hope worth having is in Jesus.
In his famous, ‘Sermon on the Mount’, Jesus said,
“I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)
In the West, death is something that happens mostly in aged-care homes to people we don’t spend much time with. But the COVID-19 virus confronts us with our mortality… reminding us that we all will face God eventually.
So, while we still have the opportunity, we should take the time to get our hopes into proper shape. The promises of government and medical technology can only ever be temporary. But the Bible speaks of ‘new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead’ (1 Peter 1:3). That’s an exciting and ongoing hope where death is not the last word but a portal into a close and complete existence with our heavenly Father.
Therefore, “set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:13).