Pastor Ray's COVID-19 Updates
Updated March 27, 2020
A Message from Pastor Ray
Hey Willingdon Church Family,
This week I’ve been praying for you, that you would not be afraid. In last weekend’s message, Pastor Willy spoke to our fears and anxieties. He encouraged us to think differently, as God would have us think. To live sacrificially, not selfishly. And to allow the light of Jesus to shine through us and not hide it. If you missed his message, I’d encourage to go to our website and watch it.
Today, I would like to refer to some important words from our Good Shepherd that speak to our fears. They’re found in John 14. Let me set the context. In the context, Jesus has raised Lazarus from the dead. While many celebrate this miracle, the religious authorities want to take Jesus’ life. Some even want to kill Lazarus, the living evidence of God’s miraculous power ministered through Jesus.
Tension is in the air. Jesus tells his disciples that one of them will hand him over to the authorities, that his time remaining with them is short, that he is about to depart and they won’t be able to follow him now, that Peter will deny him 3 times. The disciples fear they are on the brink of something catastrophic.
In this context of uncertainty, fear, confusion and impending loss, Jesus speaks these words.
v.1a “Let not your hearts be troubled.”
The revelation of truth often comes in the moment of trouble, of questioning, of uncertainty, of confusion. How are they to calm their troubled hearts? Jesus says: v. 1b Believe in God; believe also in me. The word “believe,” refers to deep, personal trust based on relationship. In essence, Jesus says, “TRUST in GOD; TRUST also in ME.” Why should they trust Jesus?
Jesus goes on in vs. 2 - 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
In this passage, Jesus uses a metaphor, “in my Father’s house are many rooms.” He refers to heaven as a house. In his day, it was customary for sons to add to their father’s house once they married. The father’s entire estate grew into a large compound, centered around a communal courtyard. For Jesus’ disciples, “Father’s house” would suggest extended family, secure relationships, good times!
Jesus says he will go before his disciples to prepare rooms. The word “rooms” refers to “permanent dwelling places.” In that large house of the Father where peace reigns, there will be more than enough rooms for all who trust in Jesus. In heaven, space will not be a problem. We will not face self-isolation; there will be no need for social distancing. It will be an incredible family reunion. We will be together with God and one another, forever. No need to be troubled.
Jesus says in vs. 3, “I will come again and will take you to myself.” It’s a promise from our Good Shepherd. He always keeps his word. Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection. Then, after Pentecost, he remained with his disciples through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
He says in 14:23, If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him (“home” is the same word used for “Father’s house” in vs. 2). Each person that trusts in Jesus, becomes a “house.” Each disciple a home for the Father and the Son, to dwell in by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus says, trust me because I have already gone to prepare a room for you. He says in 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” In the coming weeks, as we approach the Easter season, we will be talking about, remembering and celebrating how Jesus prepared the way for us. We will remember his victory over sin, the Evil One and death. We will remember that he is coming to usher us into the rooms he has prepared for us. We have no need to fear.
This weekend, join us for services on Saturday and Sunday morning. I will be sharing a message entitled, “Removing Relational Tension in a Time of Social Distancing.” It’s about finding healing in our hearts and in our relationships. I hope you find it to be practical and encouraging. Many joined the live chat feature during the broadcast. So grab a coffee and join us this weekend!
For many of us, these are challenging times on many fronts. Some of us are facing financial challenges. So we want to be sensitive to your moment and, at the same time, encourage you to continue to give with a cheerful heart as God directs you.
Our staff team and church family continues to reach out in creative ways. Please visit our website, Willingdon.org, to find out what our virtual ministry teams and virtual church family are doing. God is at work in amazing ways! We continue to support people in need in our community, international missionaries and many ministry projects, both locally and globally.
On the website look for the purple give button. On that page you will find full instructions on the many ways you can give. And, in the next week, you will be able to give directly from our website or our app. You can also continue to give through internet banking or mail your cheques into the office.
Know that you are loved by Jesus, our Good Shepherd. Know that I love you and your church family loves you. Jesus is Emmanuel, God is with us. God bless!
- Pastor Ray