The Resurrection – Does it ever feel to you like more things are going wrong than are going right? Do you ever wake up, look around, and wonder how much longer this crazy world will carry on?
What joy this time of the year brings to the followers of Jesus! Even when things look dismal, hope is restored. Easter brings with it a reminder of the resurrection. It’s our hope and anticipation. It’s our courage. I love the way the Gospel of Mark records it for those of us who need hope…“You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.” We covet your prayers as Wade preaches on Good Friday and I preach on Easter Sunday hoping to bring encouragement to God’s people, because if we need anything right now, it’s hope.
The Riots – In the midst of holy week many in our community have headed for cover. Yesterday a series of riots broke out in Hermanus as tensions continue over those who are attempting to illegally occupy land. The riots have pretty much shut down our town. Stores and schools have closed, streets are blocked, cars have burned, houses in our sub-economic areas are being plundered, and many people have been displaced.
Last night the home where we live with the McComas family became a temporary night shelter. Several other families are also housing people from our church. Community centers and churches are bursting at the seams. As I write, we are safe, however, we know that people in the community of Zwelihle are under great stress.
This morning during our prayer time with our house guests and family we read from Psalm 121:1-2, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” How can you pray right now? Pray for God to intervene and bring a quick resolution to the conflict, for peace to be restored, and for the Gospel to prosper in the midst of it all. Pray for our families who hope to return home soon, not knowing what they will find when they get there.
The Restrictions – In our post last month we updated you on the water crisis and “Day Zero,” the anticipated day when Cape Town would run out of water. Not much has really changed since then, other than Day Zero has been pushed back. All the restrictions still exist as we conserve water and wait for God to bring the winter rains. If you landed in Cape Town today, the water crisis would be clear to you before you even left the International Airport. The bathroom faucets are dry and soap dispensers now contain hand sanitizer. Soon our peak winter season will arrive (June-August) when we hope to get a good dose of some much-needed rain. However, one local news source may have it right, “Cape Town might have dodged Day Zero, but a new hyper-consciousness of water use looks set to be the new normal…” Some think this way of living may become a way of life.
The Resolute – Like any good sermon outline I needed one more “R” to complete the message, or in this case, blog post. I mean this with all my heart…we are more resolute than ever. We are convinced that God is on His throne and in complete control. We are unyielding that we are in the center of His will for such a season as this. We are steadfast in our efforts to be faithful to the Gospel of Jesus and believe it is our greatest need. This week of Easter is not about the riots and it’s not about the water restrictions. It’s about the very glory of God and the resurrection of His Son.
As I started this post, I admit, I was feeling pretty down. Thanks for allowing me to preach to myself. I needed to be reminded that in the midst of tragedy and uncertainty, God is with us, God is for us, and God is in us. Thank you, Jesus. And thank you, partnering churches and supporting friends and family, for your commitment to the Lord, to us, and to the work He is doing here in South Africa.
A Good Friday and a very Happy Easter from our family to yours!