Happy Easter, everyone. A month ago, I would have never imagined Easter Sunday looking like looks today./p>
If you asked me then, my guess would have been that I would be sitting in a pew in a room with hundreds of my dearest friends and family, singing familiar songs of joy together, emembering and celebrating the best news in the world, and standing in front of them sharing a message from the Bible centered on the promise of hope.
Instead of preaching to a bunch of friendly faces on Sunday, I preached alone from my basement to a video camera. Today, I'll sit in my living room with my wife and kids and sing those songs of joy with just them, led by my friend Doyle and his family who sang and worshipped in a room from there house to a video camera.
Honestly, a big part of me is enjoying the forced change of pace and practice. But just as honestly, another big part of me is really missing what is lost currently.
In a way, our "suffering" right now is a perfect backdrop for Easter. The whole message embedded in the resurrection of Jesus is one of hope in the midst of any kind of darkness, be it financial uncertainty, sickness, and even death.
Today I will be teaching from 1 Samuel chapter 1, where we will examine the story of a woman named Hannah, who has a "hope in the midst of hopelessness" story of her own. Her life also serves as a reminder of how to tap into that hope through prayer. In our time of uncertainty, it sure is important to have actual God-contact, and that comes most directly through prayer. For Hannah, prayer changed everything.
So this Easter, this very strange, never imagined Easter, I want to encourage you to tap into the hope that we have through prayer.