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The Publication of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Banner April 2020 19030 8th Ave S, SeaTac 98148 1 Volume 29 Issue 4
Hope is a unique signature of the Christian gospel. I believe what makes the Christian gospel unique and
different is its inherent message of not to quit
hoping. The walk to Emmaus is a story of two
disciples walking down a dusty road to the village of
Emmaus, the evening of that first Easter day. They
were in deep conversation reflecting on the events
started barely 72 hours earlier. Their talk centered
on the crucified, dead Jesus. You can hear their
words come out slowly, almost painfully, as they
trudge their way along, their feet heavy and their
hearts broken. "Life seems hopeless." And just then
a stranger joins them — perhaps he has come up
from behind, unknown to them. Perhaps he has
walked along with them for a while without their
noticing. But suddenly he is there. “What are you
talking about?” he asks.
Of course, they stop and turn to him. "Where have
you been the last few days?" one of the disciples asks
the stranger. "How is it you haven't heard anything
about Jesus of Nazareth?" And so the two of them
tell the stranger what they know. Listen to what
they say. He was a prophet, powerful in word and
deed before God and all the people. The chief priests
and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to
death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that
he would be the one who would redeem Israel. And
what is more, it is the third day since all this took
place. In addition, some of our women amazed us.
They went to the tomb early this morning but didn't
find his body. They came and told us that they had
seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then
some of our companions went to the tomb and found
it just as the women had said, but they did not see
him. — Luke 24:19c-24
We are all daily engaged in difficult conversations
around our dinner tables. Clearly the two beloved
disciples of our Lord, were filled with sadness and
despair, grieving at the death of a friend, telling that
stranger how the last nail has been driven into their
hope for the future. And our Savior himself,
unknown to them, was patiently listening to them,
his nail-scarred hands undoubtedly buried deep
within his robe to keep them from recognizing him.
As he heard those words of grief and sadness, no
doubt his heart must have been touched by their
pain. The two disciples’ hopes were dashed because
of the events of the past few days. They were
reminding themselves of what was and could have
been had their messiah not been brutally killed. It
was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
We too as Christians (and non-Christians) today are
going through some bad days. We are currently
going through a pandemic like no other in our
generation. COVID-19 has dashed many of our
hopes. Our lives have
come to a screeching halt.
We are losing loved ones.
We are losing jobs. We
are losing our livelihoods.
One event (COVID-19)
Banner April 2020 Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
The Publication of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Banner April 2020 19030 8th Ave S, SeaTac 98148 2 Volume 29 Issue 4
has paralyzed our every aspect of life. I am reminded
that it was during similar hopelessness that the
resurrected Lord showed up to join in the
conversation with the two frightened disciples.
Christ joins us today to make sense of what’s
happening around us.
Our fears and frustrations can be the avenue to
experience the resurrected Lord and God’s grace
more widely and more deeply. Sometimes, our lives
are often fenced in by low expectations. At times,
like the disciples, we fear and dread that whatever
has dashed our hope might as well come for our lives
too, so we think. Those who have crucified our Lord
might kill us next.
But Jesus’ encounter with the two disciples should be
a reminder for us to expect Jesus to come and walk
with us in our life’s journey. Rather than live in fear,
let’s be in a state of expectancy, and leave room for
God to come in as he sure will. We live under hope.
That hope is rested in God, not the situation.
Sometimes quitting is the easiest thing to do once
the challenge has lost its glamor in tedious
endurance. But no matter how hopeless our
situation might be, we can stake our hope on Jesus’
reputation. In the confusion of this pandemic that
we are experiencing, do we ask ourselves, where is
the risen Christ? As Christ reminded the two
disciples, let’s hold fast onto what the prophets have
said of him. We will soon realize the holiness of the
One who has promised to be with us to the end of
In the midst of our fears and frustrations he breaks
bread with us. As Christ is walking with us in our
life’s journey, may we each walk with each other and
encourage each other in our most holy faith. The
Christ we meet in this gospel story is one that gives
us the hope that jolts us out of our uncertainty and
fears. He calms our fears in saying “Peace be with
you.” (Verse 36) In calming our fears, he offers us
not just comfort and complacency, but commitment,
connection, and conviction that he is truly
resurrected and desires to abide with us. Just like
David reminds us in
Psalms 22 and 23, when we
feel forsaken and our Lord
seemingly too distant, yet
he is the abiding shepherd
that walks with us through
our darkest valleys.
God’s love, Pastor Sam Sseba
So much in our world, in each of our lives day to day, has changed dramatically in recent weeks. We are
nervous, frightened, confused, and angry, with some
of us having very understandably high levels of
anxiety. Many are physically ill, some dying. We are
told we must stay away from each other, the people
we care so much about and on whom we depend.
Where is God in all this? How can this happen to us?
The Coronavirus has taken over the focus of the
world. Nothing like this has ever been experienced
by almost any of us before. What do we do? Some
• Gratitude (not the right place to start? Maybe
not? Maybe it is.) - We are watching in this time
of crisis people by the thousands risking their
lives to save and care for others. Medical
personnel, first responders, ordinary neighbors,
going beyond! These are heroes! Somehow they
were created with the hearts and skills to do
incredible deeds. They are in every country and
The Publication of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Banner April 2020 19030 8th Ave S, SeaTac 98148 3 Volume 29 Issue 4
every village in the world. And, wow, am I
grateful. Thanks, God, for you and your people.
• Common sense - be careful. Stay home. Physical
separation from other people. Wash hands and
everything you touch. Wash hands and every-
thing you touch. Wash hands and everything you
touch. Do all the right things we are taught to do
by the medical experts, the Governor, etc. This is
to protect you and to protect everyone else, all of
us, every one of us. This is no time to bellyache
"no one can tell me what to do." Grow up. This
• Community. Take care of each other (as long as
you do it staying home and separated). Call her,
call him, call them. Text her, text him, text them.
Call the people you care about. Then call
someone you don't know that well. Encourage
them. They will value it right away, and 10
minutes later, and next week. Attend worship
(online, of course, live streaming), knowing others
of the people you care about are doing it also, at
the same time. You (we) are together in this.
Shed a tear that you are not alone. This is being
together in a most profound way.
• A Child of God. Remember who you are. You are
not a smudge, a germ, a bone, a coincidence, an
accident, a know-it-all. You are God's child, with
many gifts and talents, loved deeply, and sent a
savior. You are not alone, will not be abandoned,
and have purpose and a calling.
If you pay attention to being a child of God, then the
First three bullets above are automatically true, are
automatically happening in
your life. Go though all the
above thoughts, slowly,
carefully. See if it fits for
God's love and blessings to
you, be safe,
PRAYER IN A TIME OF
Our God, and God of all people:
God of the rich and God of th