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Bible Study Guide for Sunday Nov 1, 2020

October 29, 2020

● Revelation 7:9-17

● Psalm 34:1-10,22

● 1 John 3:1-3

● Matthew 5:1-12

I am reflecting on the unknown saints we have lost during the pandemic as I read through this year’s All Saints’ Day readings. As of this writing, we have lost more than 220,000 lives in the US to COVID-19 and over 1.1 million worldwide. Alone, those are staggering numbers. When they are multiplied by grieving family members, plans dashed, and hopes lost it is overwhelming.

Where does this leave us then, the overwhelmed living who carry God’s work forward? Scripture tells us that we who mourn are blessed, and we will be comforted. It can be a struggle to see God’s comfort. There are no easy answers to the questions surrounding loss and suffering.

Instead of abstractions, perhaps it is easiest to talk about a small thing that comforted me this week. I doubt any of us expect comfort from Twitter, but I was very heartened by the following tweet: “Not sure who needs to hear this, but your choice to give up your normal life for the last 7 months may have saved someone's life and I don't want you to think - for one second - that it wasn't worth it.”

We mourn the dead and the unknown saints who have left us. However, we also need to celebrate the unknown living we have saved. Each of us will never know how many lives we protected each time we wore a mask, social distanced, or washed our hands. We are not just the blessed who mourn. We are the blessed who are meek, pure of heart, and who thirst and hunger for righteousness. We are, as the 1 John reading says, the children of God. But we know that our neighbors are also children of God who we must love and care for.

My hope is that when life returns to whatever the post-COVID normal looks like, people the world over will be like the great multitude in Revelation, “..they who have come out of the great ordeal.” We will be filled by our mere ability to resume our regular lives. How filling the mundane things that make up our lives will be! However, we must remember that a desire to assume meekness, purity of heart, and a thirst for righteousness is not something that we can set down once the hard times over. It is a desire to be carried forward into, throughout, and out of all great ordeals.

· Do you see God’s comfort in your life in the midst of the pandemic?

· Is there a beatitude you especially identify with?

· Is there a beatitude you struggle to identify with?

Author: Ryan Newberry


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