A Sermon by Rev. Felipe Ehican, Jr.
Parish Pastor, St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Baguio City
North Luzon Highland District
March 22, 2020 | 4th Sunday in Lent
Dear members of the household of faith, Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father be unto all of you in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen!
In facebook I wrote an advisory informing you that there will be no Divine Service at St Stephen Lutheran Church, telling you also to stay at home, pray and meditate with your families because I do have a responsibility not to put you in danger of health and illness. Another thing why we are to stay at home is because of the directive of the local government units with regards to the Enhanced Community Quarantine, we obey our leaders, those who are in authority because they are God’s servants to ensure safety and protect its citizens.
I would like to read to you Psalm 46:1-2a, 10-11 and it says: “The LORD is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…. Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our fortress”.
What are the reasons why we are at home today? The main reason is because of the Coronavirus. We are afraid to be infected of covid-19. The authorities also told us to stay at home to prevent the spread of this said virus.
People all over the world today are afraid; Christians and non-Christians alike. Yes most of us if not all are afraid because we are so much in danger…..There are so much disasters happening and so much sufferings caused by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, terrorism, diseases and many others most especially this coronavirus or covid-19 that devastated human life.
How do we as Christians react in situations like these? We are afraid. Our life is threatened, a real threat to life. In fact we heard many already are infected and many died. Our leaders in the civil authority and personnel of the DOH are also afraid because they said there are only 90,000 hospital beds with only 1,000 ICU’s. If all will be infected, the hospitals are not enough to cater us.
In the midst of fear in this scary world and scary coronavirus, we hear the Word of God in Psalm 46:1-2b, 10, and 11 as our comfort that says: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear….Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth! I The LORD almighty is with us, The God of Jacob is our fortress.
In this scary and dangerous world caused by calamities especially covid-19 or coronavirus we look up to God for refuge and fortress, to where and to whom shall we take refuge? We are humans and mortals. Only in God’s arm we are secured. Remember this world made scary because of sin and the devil. It’s dangerous to live in this fallen world. Yet, the Son of God Jesus Christ entered this world and lived among us. He is not afraid. He faces the danger of death. He took our sins and shed his blood and died on the cross at Calvary so that we would not be afraid of death. In Him we are safe. In Him we take refuge. In Him we are save. In Him we have forgiveness and life.
How wonderful and meaningful it is to celebrate the Lenten Season. You know, the color of Lent is violet which symbolize Repentance. It’s time of sorrow for our sins. Yet, to many it’s feasting, it’s pleasure, it’s making money that counts, it’s satisfying the desires of the flesh rather than spiritual nourishment of the soul. It’s time to pray to repent of our sins, it’s time to meditate and feed our soul with God’s holy Word.
Though the coronavirus is dangerous to human life, it is indeed a good thing for it awakens our faith and leads us to God as our refuge and fortress. In Him we are secured. For when will we ever learn? Possessions, fame, honor, our own strength cannot give us security in this life. In faith therefore we cling to Jesus knowing that He is our Savior from death, sin and the devil. God bless you, dear ones of the compassionate God.
And now may the peace of God which surpasses human understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen!