Covid 19

Lam 3:21 This I recall to my heart—therefore I have hope:

Lam 3:22 Because of the mercies of Adonai we will not be consumed, for His compassions never fail.

Lam 3:23 They are new every morning! Great is Your faithfulness.

Lam 3:24 “Adonai is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.”

Everything seems so surreal. We find ourselves in lock down mode, in quarantine from a virus that is not respective of borders or people groups. We restrict our travel and when in public we encounter businesses closed and people wearing masks and gloves. To see family and loved ones we resort to Zoom or some other form of video conferencing.

Amidst all of this upheaval, panic and pain it’s fair to say that the things we’re now experiencing are but tremors; the real shaking is not far behind.  The signs of the real shaking are adequately described for us in Yeshua’s Olivet discourse. (Matt. 24, Luke 21)

I write these things to you not with the intent to scare but to remind us of the enormous opportunities this will create.  How else can we make sense of the meaning of 20/20 vision if things remain status quo? Trust in the L-RD is best exercised in times of conflict, not calm.

During the course of my “Prophetic 2020 Vision” series I would relate back to various heroes of faith, the “great cloud of witnesses” who’ve faced situations more severe, yet were rock solid in their trust in the L-RD.  Further, let me briefly cite two more contemporary heroes whose take on matters should reflect our own.

During the worldwide cholera pandemic in the mid-1800s, Charles Spurgeon, wrote these words:

It is much to be feared that a constant run of prosperity, perpetual peace and freedom from disease may breed in our minds just what it has done in all human minds before, namely security, pride, hedonism and forgetfulness of God. It is a most solemn fact that human nature can scarcely bear a long continuance of peace and health. It is almost necessary that we should be salted with affliction every now and then lest we putrefy with sin. May God grant that we have neither famine nor sword but since we have this pestilence in a very slight degree, it becomes us to ask the Lord to bless it to the people so a tenderness of conscience may be apparent throughout the multitude and they may recognize the hand of God. Already I’ve been told by Christian brethren laboring in the east of London there is a greater willingness to listen to gospel truth.

From an essay titled: “On Living in an Atomic Age,” distinguished Irish scholar, Cambridge and Oxford Professor, C.S. Lewis wrote the following excerpts back in 1948.  If we would substitute the corona virus for the atomic bomb, we’re sure to come away with a very relevant message.

“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply: ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’

“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors — anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.”

“This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (same as a microbe!) but they need not dominate our minds.”

The Covid-19 virus is a fresh reminder of just how fragile and short life can be.  It reminds us of how suddenly things can change before our eyes. Within a short window of time, society has all but completely shut down; leaving in its wake countless multitudes plunged into the despair of losing businesses, life’s savings and employment. And what of those who’ve taken ill and succumbed?

Yet, our hope rests in the L-RD!  We appreciate all that our elected leaders are trying to accomplish. We highly honor, pray for and give thanks for the steadfast work of all our medical professionals…but ultimately our hope is in the L-RD who transcends the things of this earth. Because of the mercies of Adonai, we will not be consumed, for His compassions never fail. Great is Your faithfulness. “Therefore, I will hope in Him.”

Luke 21:36 But stay alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things about to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

At a time when so many are fearful and anxiety ridden, can you think of a better time for people to be more receptive to the good news of God’s love and redemption?

Mind you, these fears are real and not imagined. People have genuine concerns about their health and the health of family members. People have genuine financial fears: losing a business, being out of work, how to make their next rental or mortgage payment. If ever there was a time when people were hungry for hope it is now! Ample opportunities await!

Psa 20:2 May Adonai answer you in the day of trouble! May the Name of the God of Jacob set you up securely on high.

Psa 20:3 May He send you help from the Sanctuary and support you from Zion.

Psa 20:4 May He remember all your meal offerings and accept the fat of your burnt offering. Selah

Psa 20:5 May He grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans.

REMINDERS: In lieu of a Shabbat service, the synagogue sanctuary will be open for those who desire to come in to pray, from 10:30-12:00. During this time of absence, let us be mindful to the responsibilities of stewardship.  Tithes and offerings can be sent through the mail or online by going to our website at: shalombuffalo.org. Remember too that we are receiving an offering for Zachary Rutter…may we be a rich blessing to him as he readies himself for a ministry trip with the YMJA to Eretz Yisrael.

Until further notice all services and congregational activities are cancelled.  We are in the process of setting up a Live Stream for all future services.  Many thanks to Tom Rutter, Hans & Liz Leitner along with Pat Pason and our board for getting this off the ground.

Just as quickly as these calamities came upon us, just as quickly can they depart.

We are a few weeks removed from Passover, the ultimate paradigm for all redemption! On Passover we remember the power of God to turn away a deadly plague, bringing redemption and freedom.  On Passover we remember the Lamb of God whose blood staved off a deadly pestilence. Let’s believe that the miracles of Passover will set us up for a grand and glorious Shavuot! May the blood of the Lamb break this deadly pestilence and may Shavuot yield us the fruits of 20/20 prophetic vision!

Although we may be apart, let our faith, hope, and love, along with unity continue to grow.

I thank my God at every memory of you, always praying with joy in every prayer of mine for you all. (Phil.1:3-4)

Lihitraot,

Rabbi Frank

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