The church that I serve, Rockwell Falls Presbyterian, is gathering for worship each Sunday via the GoToMeeting service (GoToMeeting and Zoom are two excellent ways to meet as a church when you can’t meet physically together). When we first started this, we were hoping that we would be able to worship together in our sanctuary for Palm Sunday, and expected that we would be together for Easter (though “some doubted”). But now we know that is not to be. I want to yell out, “Aghhh!” in protest of all that would prevent us from physically gathering together on those days (even though it is very wise for us not to do so).
But I refuse to be discouraged because Easter is still coming and nothing can stop it.
Tony Campollo, a noted sociologist and Christian speaker, tells of a time when he was worshipping in a church where the preacher repeated again and again the sentence, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Comin’!” It was Good Friday when everything seemed lost to the Disciples. There was no hope remaining—how could there be—Jesus was dead. What those disciples didn’t know then was that Sunday was coming—Easter, the Day of Resurrection. From their vantage point it seemed that God had failed; that things couldn’t get any worse than they were. That’s understandable, but it was still a mistake. They knew that it was the worst Friday of their lives, but they forgot that Jesus had promised that Sunday was coming.
In our lives there are many ‘Fridays’, times when hope seems to flee and the future looks dark and despairing. When friends and family are sick, when they die, when they’re absent, it seems like Friday is here to stay. When we (and those we love) have lost our jobs, when our rent or mortgage payments are due, when we wonder where any money will come from to buy our food, then it seems like Friday is trampling our lives. When a virus with a fatality rate of 1-2% threatens to infect up to 80% of us, it seems like Friday will never leave. Now that’s depressing!
While it might be Friday today, we Christians have been through many Fridays, and we know that Sunday is coming.
Jesus told his disciples that “in this world you will have trouble.” He did not end with that message about all the ‘Fridays’ we will experience. He immediately continued with “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He said those words even as he was teaching his disciples that he was going to die, the biggest Friday of them all.
It’s interesting: Jesus often talked about his death, but along with that he always talked about his resurrection to follow. Maybe we should consider doing the same with our seemingly limitless Fridays. We can recognize them with all the pain that they bring, but we can also remember that the Fridays of our lives are not the end. The Sundays, the days of resurrection, are the new beginnings.
Jesus knows that we face many troubles. He told his disciples (and us), “You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All people will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life” (Luke 21:16 ff, NIV).
We want to remember the “not a hair of your head will perish”, Sunday part and forget the Friday part that comes before. But Jesus is a realist who is full of faith. He knows that even though we die, yet will we live. That’s hard to see when troubles pile up, but remember, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Comin’.” If it’s hard for you to see the Sunday that’s coming, I encourage you to talk with someone about it. I’m available. We can all be a blessing to one another.
I hope that you all are able to gather online for worship this Palm Sunday when we celebrate that Jesus is the King. I hope that you all are able to gather online for worship on Easter Sunday when we celebrate that Jesus is our Living Lord and that because he lives, we too shall live. It might seem to be a Friday-like thing to worship together online, but it’s really a celebration that Easter is always here with us! Sunday’s comin’!
If your congregation doesn’t have the ability to host online worship (which usually includes the option of calling in on a standard phone), find another congregation that does and spread the word. Don’t let anything stop you from gathering together online to worship!