“It is the Lord who goes before you. God will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Moses speaks these words to Joshua, just after Moses learns that it will be Joshua and not Moses who leads the people into the Promised Land. Joshua has been part of the journey all along. No doubt, he has seen the challenges that Moses has faced and he is most likely hesitant to take up this leadership position. Yet God has called and Moses reminds him that he does not do this alone. God will go before him and will never forsake him.
Usually, the week after Easter provides a bit of a “hang-over” for the pastors. After all, we have worked hard to put together four meaningful services for the congregation and we have led worship somewhere in the neighborhood of seven times from Sunday to Sunday. As exhausting as it can be, I have always found Holy Week to be one of the most meaningful weeks in my life.
Like everything else, this year was different. The energy and the emotion that is part of worship during Holy Week was missing because all of you were missing. In addition, for only the second time in my 34-year career I spent Easter morning in my pajamas. (Special note: The first time was Easter 1987 when I was in the hospital laboring to bring our first child into the world!).
This year instead of a post-Easter “hang-over” due to fatigue, I feel more of a post-Easter letdown. It does not feel like the desert of Lent is over. Nothing changed after Easter worship. Instead of finishing the journey of the program year with our traditional post-Easter programs, we are doing what we have been doing for four weeks now. We continue to provide daily devotions and meaningful worship via our streaming service each week. Special events are postponed until further notice.
I don’t know about you, but I am weary and discouraged in this journey. Yet, we haven’t even been doing this for 40 days and the Israelites did it for 40 years. No wonder they grumbled and complained. No wonder they sometimes turned their back on God. No wonder Moses had to remind Joshua that God would be with him no matter what was happening. This is our truth, too. I remind myself and each of you; God will not fail us nor forsake us. Be not discouraged or dismayed. Things are different. We know the risen Christ. Alleluia!