The Valley of the Shadow of Death

The death toll is rising. Rising in the United States and rising among my community. The numbers are staggering. It is no longer far away. It’s close to home. People I know are dying. Not just people I know, but people who look like me. People who have pre-existing conditions. High blood pressure, overweight, history of heart disease and diabetes in the family. Wait . . . that’s me – check, check, check.

We entered holy week with these harsh realities. Much like a certain Jewish carpenter did thousands of years ago. The task before him was daunting. He ate dinner with his betrayer and begged the Father to release him from his fate. Can you imagine the emotional and mental anguish Jesus must have felt as the world continued around him and he was walking through the valley of the shadow of death?

Many of us feel like that this Good Friday. Perhaps a loved one has died or you are sick yourself. Perhaps your depressed and the isolation is getting to you. Me, I’m reflecting on the words of Psalms 23,

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil;

For You are with me;

Psalm 23:4 NKJV

The Christ who understands suffering in a way that most of us will NEVER understand it is with us. The Christ who took on sin so that I could be reconciled back to the Father is with us. The Christ who bore my SICKNESSES and carried my DISEASES is with us! In the middle of this pandemic, know that we serve a Christ who shows up in crisis (borrowed from Bishop TD JAKES in this sermon)!

Perhaps, the knowledge that Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us is not enough during these trying times. Well . . . God has an answer for that too. Just wait . . . hold on. Call a friend, pray, meditate, sing silly songs, laugh at memes and ridiculous posts, listen to poor video quality sermons and world-class sermon, have communion with your cat. Just wait . . . hold on my friend – Sunday’s coming.

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