Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3–5 (ESV)

On Saturday I walked into our sanctuary full of a mix of emotions.  Just hours before our leadership made the very difficult decision to suspend in-person worship.  It wasn't taken lightly.  Like so many of you I am adapting to very sudden and rapid change, things I never thought possible. 

But the first immediate decision I had to make was what to do about our eternal candle which is suspended from ceiling of the Sanctuary.  It was nearly out as it usually is on a Saturday when the altar guild normally changes it and sets up communion. 

But no service, no communion, and thus no altar guild.  So I stared at it for a moment.  Is it a waste to change it out with no one here?  With offerings in question I have to say I'm trying to save money in any place I can find. 

I wrestled for just a moment between faith and doubt but only a moment. 

I switched it out and it continues to glow in our empty santuary. 

That light represents Christ's eternal presence among our flock.  He is with us even if we are unable to be with one another. 

Our Epistle lesson for this week in Lent is a reminder that suffering ain't all bad.  It's even something to rejoice over!  Why? Because it drives us back to God.  Suddenly the chaff of our lives is blown away, suddenly the one thing that matters remains and that is Christ and Christ alone.  That single wick alight in our hearts. 

We will grow through this and become stronger in our faith as we are challenged in the days ahead.  That's the promise in Scripture and why we can even rejoice in the face of suffering.