When I have my daily devotional time with the Lord I have the pattern of reading three chapters from the Bible, one from the Old Testament, one from the Psalms or Wisdom Literature, and one from the New Testament and then I spend time in prayer. Right now in the New Testament readings I’m going through the Gospel of Luke. Yesterday in Luke I was reading chapter 18. It opens with Jesus telling the parable of the Persistent Widow. Concluding that short story, Jesus adds this short commentary:


            “However, when the Son of Man comes [again], will he find faith on the

            earth?” (Luke 18:8, NIV) 


            In the context of the parable, He is referring to the kind of faith that perseveres in prayer and loyalty. Jesus talks a great deal about this in His Revelation to St. John. But before then, in Matthew, we hear Him teaching about that time when His return draws near: “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:10-13, NIV) 

            As an aside, I do believe we are now rapidly approaching that day. I think it likely that we will see it in our lifetime, hopefully sooner than later. The signs of the times are all around us, if we can read them.

            Before I continue with this blog, let me affirm you if you have refrained from face-to-face worship due to concerns regarding Covid-19. I want people to be wise and be safe, and I understand. It has been a blessing that congregations have been able to join together for worship and Bible study over the internet. We could not have done this ten or twenty years ago. The technology was just being developed then. Yet, a very troubling trend seems to be emerging now.

            Our Director of Music Amy Harding shared a sobering article with me just two days ago which was published by The Barna Group, a Christian surveying company. Their latest survey has found that since we have been hit by the pandemic, 1 in 3 professed believers in the US has stopped attending Online or In-Person worship


            Not attending in-person worship is certainly understandable given the circumstances, but dropping online worship too? What does such action, or inaction, say about the strength or authenticity of one’s faith? For Jesus, it would seem to call it into question, as persistence is the indicator of genuineness and transience the proof of nominalism, or “faith in name only.” The big question for every person who professes to be a follower of Jesus is, “When He returns, will He find faith in me, the kind of faith that persists in prayer and loyalty?” 

            Covid-19 has presented the Church with great challenges that can and do discourage us in many ways including the practice or observance of our Christian faith. As the Bible indicates however, things will come upon our world and confront our faith that are exceedingly more problematic than a microscopic virus. If a virus has tried and tested the faith of so many so profoundly, what can be expected when actual persecution arises? May we be resolved right now like the widow in Jesus’ parable that we will never give up, but persevere and persist!  And even more, be inspired by Him.


            “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,

              let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily

              entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 

              fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy

              set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at

              the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such

              opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”                 (Hebrews 12;1-3, NV)    


Let Us Press On Together,

Pastor Paul