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Remember ‘The Way’

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Comfort in a time of uncertainty

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CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Editor’s note-As churches bring their worship and messages to their flock via You-Tube and Facebook Live, The Monitor has reached out to pastors to share the message. This is an excerpt from Pastor Joan Iker from Four Mile Lutheran Church.
My daughter-in-law said that last Sunday when they sat down to watch their “YouTube church” service, our little Jolie started to cry.  In fact, she wailed, “I miss church!  I just want to go to church!” She was really sad.
When I heard that my 5-year-old granddaughter was grieving like this, I thought you and me both, kiddo! I miss going to church and seeing the faces of everyone, having communion together, and enjoying potluck fellowship. It seems that there is grief over the various other things we have lost during this pandemic. In fact, I am sure that we are experiencing grief.  Most of us have not lost a friend or family member to the disease, but we have lost so many of our normal activities, retirement funds, jobs, plans. The atmosphere is often funeral-like.
We get this reading from John 14:1-14.It is very familiar.You have probably heard it at funerals.I know that I have used it a few times myself.  Jesus says these words to help his disciples find their way through the difficult time of his rapidly approaching death.  It is meant to be a comfort and guide for them.  These words, “Let not you heart be troubled…I’m going to prepare a place for you…I will come again…Someday you’ll be with me,” are words to lean on in times of loss and sadness.
 But in spite of the comforting words, the disciples say they don’t know the way to where Jesus is going. Of course they can’t know. They haven’t experienced death. Thomas speaks out for us all when he says, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Yes, how can we find the way through something we don’t know?
We all like to know where we are going and we like to see signs along the way, don’t we? We want to know we are on the right road in order to keep on going.
The problem with life is that we don’t always know where we are going, and therefore we don’t know about the road. If I asked you two or three months ago what you thought you would be doing on Mother’s Day, I bet your answer would be different than worshiping online.  This pandemic has life turned upside down. We don’t know the way through this yet. Life continues to change as we learn and experience all sorts of new things. How can we know that we are going the right way when it’s something we haven’t been through before?
Good news: Jesus is the way. Jesus says that he is the way for the disciples. He pleads with them, “Don’t worry. Don’t be troubled.  Trust God and trust me. If you have known me, you know the Father.”  In other words, if you know Jesus, you do know the way to the Father because Jesus came to reveal the Father to us. The disciples may have failed to recognize the Father in him at the time as He was performing miracles and healing many.  But they are learning to walk by faith and not necessarily by sight.
Like the disciples, we may not at this moment have the whole road map of life laid out telling us how the future will go, but we are urged to look back at the faithfulness of God to act for us in the past and then we can know he will bring us through this time.
The Monitor invites area pastors to send portions of sermons to us to serve as a comfort in these troubled times.