Depending upon your circumstances, you have either celebrated or endured another Holy Week and Easter. Easter Sunday may be over, but we will be in the Season of Easter for the next six weeks until Pentecost Sunday on May 31st. As I wrote about last week, this is a time for joy, even if we struggle to be happy.
This week, starting on April 19th, we are moving from the Gospel of Mark to the Book of Acts. The Book of Acts tells the story of the birth and early growth of the church through the work of the Holy Spirit. It begins here in Acts 1. Jesus has risen from the dead and is now appearing to his followers for 40 days. When those 40 days are over, it is time for Jesus to ascend back to the heavenly realm. Just prior to this, Jesus gives his apostles a commission:
“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”Acts 1:8
This is a version of the more famous Great Commission from the Gospel of Matthew:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.”Matthew 28:19
For the moment, let’s put aside what Jesus is calling us to do in “normal” times and focus on now, a time of upheaval of many of our daily lives, and stress for everyone. How are we to witness, and to go, in a time when it is potentially dangerous to go out and most of us are under stay-at-home orders? I believe it depends on your circumstances.
- Are you spending your time learning new skills and arranging every cupboard and drawer in your home? Are you able to spend more time with your children and are looking for ways to get out and away? Search for ways your church and community are serving those who are hardest hit by this catastrophe. Check on those who may be lonely or need extra help (safely).
- Are you weighed down by stress, depression, or anxiety? Focus on self-care. It is in no way selfish to spend time on your mental, emotional, and physical health. Don’t forget that the commandment is to love your neighbor “as yourself.” Pray and search your heart about whether it would be best to get out of your head and home to assist others or do what you need to so you can make it through another day. Challenge yourself to take one small step to further love yourself, love your neighbor, and love your God. Because you cannot love your God without loving your neighbor and you cannot love your neighbor without first loving yourself.
May the peace and joy of Christ fill your hearts and minds.
Gregory Rawn (Publisher)
When you download the free Sharing God’s Story @ Home devotional insert, linked below, you will have a resource to guide daily devotional time. Using this resource and your own creativity, design devotions for yourself and your family or friends. I will be providing this resource for free on a weekly basis, so check back at this blog each week! I hope this will be helpful for you in the days ahead.
Daily Bible Readings online (Here you can subscribe to our daily Bible readings calendar so that you can see them on your electronic calendar.)