Eucharistic Readings for the Seventh Sunday after Easter: Year A
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12)
Well St Peter, something strange is happening to us. I am, this morning preaching with a mask over my face, outside, to whoever will show up. And we, the parish of St. Paul’s in the Pines Fayetteville, NC, are asking everyone who comes to bring their own seating, to wear masks and oh, by the way, at Holy Communion they will only receive the bread. Yes St. Peter this is a fiery ordeal that is taking place among us.
This is Memorial Day Weekend! This weekend has been set aside to remember all those men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Today, this day in 2020, we are also remembering first responders and others who have been putting their lives on the line for the safety of the victims of COVID 19.
St Peter also says in our reading for today, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert.” (1st Peter 5: 6 – 8) None of us saw this coming, including priests, deacons and bishops. I’m here before my people wearing a mask. I don’t like it. However, the mask is not just for my protection. Some of us are asymptomatic carriers of COVID 19 and could pass the virus on to those who have weak immunity. Some of the problems we have had with this virus is that we don’t find out we have it until we have passed it on. So this mask that I wear is an expression of how much I love you.
Real love is expressed not in how tough I am about you. Real love for you is expressed in how tough love is. When we really think about it, love will humble us to our knees. It’s not about being tough at all. It’s about love, love that humbles us. So then let us not be surprised about the strange things taking place in our time. Love is eternal. We will get through this with grace, humility and love. The Spirit of God speaks to us.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John