Saint Paulís Evangelical Lutheran Church

34 West Main St., Frostburg, MD 21532

Pastor Karen Crosby

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Martha and Mary wept and wailed for the loss of their brother, along with a minion of other mourners, as was the custom for Hebrew people.† They were upset that their expectations of Jesus to perform a miraculous healing had been shattered.† They were upset that they had lost the stability of their brotherís financial well-being, the security of his presence.† Their focus was on the immediate nature of their dilemma and their grief.†

†††††††††††††††† Jesus, on the other hand, wept not for the death of his friend, but out of disappointment and frustration that the sisters had not grasped that he was more than a miracle worker but rather the Son of God.† He wept because the women had forgotten his promises of life everlasting.† He wept because he knew there was great risk that the gift of himself as the Good Shepherd Ė the one who would never lose a sheep Ė the gift of his unconditional love, the gift of resurrection, and the life that he offered in the here and the hereafter, would never be understood or accepted.†

†††††††††††††††† And here we are, two thousand years later, following suit with Martha and Mary, hiding from death, concerned with our financial stability, staring into the face of our mortality.† Every day we hear about the rise in casualties from the virus.† We check to see if there are any known cases in Allegany County.† And every day that none are reported, we feel safe and secure, perhaps believing that somehow God has bestowed a special blessing upon us.†

†††††††††††††††† The truth of the matter is that Jesus has bestowed a special gift to us.† Jesus has given us not the gift of eternal physical safety and health, but rather the gift of eternal life, the gift of eternal love, the gift of life in Christ in the here and now and in the hereafter.† Chances are that those of us living in Allegany County will not escape the viral infection Ė there are bound to be some confirmed cases, and perhaps some deaths.† And so it is worth pondering, is Jesus weeping?† I believe that Jesus surely feels our pain when someone dies.† But is Jesus weeping because of our reactions to death Ė the fear and panic that has spread even more virulently than the disease itself?† Is Jesus weeping at the greed and hoarding behaviors that have been on display as a result of our fright at the specter of death?†

†††††††††††††††† It is right and good that we practice physical distancing and good hygiene during these days of pandemic.† But I encourage you to think about why we are exercising so much caution.† Is it because we fear death?† Or is it because, in the new life that Jesus has gifted us, we understand that for the well-being of all people it is wise to do whatever we can to minimize the spread of the disease Ė to provide a chance for it to expire?†

†††††††††††††††† No matter what happens in the weeks ahead, hang on to your faith.† Jesus promised that he would be with us even to the end of the age.† Jesus loves us, and we can trust in his promises.

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep.† Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your loveís sake.† Amen.

PASTORíS MESSAGE Continued:

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Church Office:††††††††† 301-689-9244†††††††† stpaulsfrostburg@verizon.net

Office Hours:†† Mon & Tues, Thurs & Fri, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.,†† Closed on Wednesdays.

©Copyright 2020.† Saint Paulís Lutheran Church, Frostburg, MD.† All rights reserved.

Saint Paulís Evangelical Lutheran Church

34 West Main St., Frostburg, MD 21532

Pastor Karen Crosby