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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, November 13, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  1 Thessalonians 4:13–18

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (NRSV)

I’m not one to think too much about eschatology, because thinking about what happens after we die is just too much for me sometimes. As the world has faced so much loss this year, and as we enter another surge in COVID-19 cases with no solid plan to fight the pandemic in the United States specifically at the time of writing, thinking too much about death and what comes after is too emotionally draining. I know I’m supposed to find encouragement in these words from 1 Thessalonians, but I have to admit that it’s hard to do. We have been so overwhelmed by grief in various forms this year that it’s hard enough to hope for and dream about our communities post-pandemic, let alone have hope for what comes after death or for Christ to come again.

However, as the pandemic rages on, I’ll take any words of encouragement that I can find. I know the future is still uncertain and that this holiday season will look very different than it did last year, but I am thankful for my faith communities that have worked incredibly hard to pivot to provide online services and to foster a sense of community virtually. It’s truly a testament to our tenacity and resilience. While we still grieve, there is encouragement in our everlasting hope.

God of all creation, in you we find our hope in the face of so much uncertainty. May we continue to hold on to that hope and offer words of encouragement to one another as we venture even further into the unknown. Amen.

Written by Katrina Buchanan, Editorial Assistant

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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