In light of COVID-19, we’ve been enforced to lockdown in our homes. And when I turn on the news, its another reminder of the gravity of the situation. Even this morning, we find news like how our neighborhood, Central Queens, is the ‘epicenter of the epicenter’ of COVID-19 and I am pressured even more to hunker down and wait out all that’s going on.

But that’s only because I have the option to do so. Many people in our city do not have that luxury. And information is good to have but when it affects us in a way where we become more self-focused, we need to make changes.

Jesus had one goal in life. He lived to die. And not just an easy, painless, natural death, but the most torturous, humiliating, agonizing, disgraceful, cursed death.

Can we do that? Can we drink from the cup of wrath that he drank?

This was the cup he requested God to be taken from him in the garden of Gethsemane on the Thursday night of Passion Week. This was the cup he would drink on the cross the next day. This was also the cup that he referred to when the mother of James and John came to Jesus requesting that her sons sit at the right and left hand of Jesus in his kingdom.

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Matthew 20:20-28

This is what we as Christians are actually called by Jesus to do. To serve, not be served, to lose our lives for His sake, that we might gain His life instead.

But my fears to protect my family, my newborn is valid. My life is not my own in one sense. I have a wife and child and elderly parents to consider. But at the same time, I am convicted that there are many ways to shine our light during this dark time, some of which the world may consider foolish and unwise but I am reminded that the gospel is foolishness to the world but it is the power of God for us who are being saved!

And if we are to seriously ‘take up our cross’ and follow Christ, Jesus said things like, let the dead bury their own dead and the Son of man has no place to lay his head.

All in all to say, there are many needs around us at this time where we must make effort to live out God’s calling to love one another just as Christ loved us.

I am challenged and convicted to help the many non-profit organizations still operating in our city to care for the homeless like Bowery mission and Father’s Heart and places like Restore NYC who are continuing to fight against sex-trafficking in our city. All these people who were the most vulnerable before COVID-19 have become the most neglected at this time.

That’s why when one of our church members shared his heart to care for the elderly and sick at our church, I was so moved to just invite him to share his heart in our PIF College group chat and invite us all to join him.

Whether we can or can’t physically be a part of it. Because we could at least pray. And we could at least donate. Or reach out through phone. Do something! And the Christian organizations are asking for help right now, if we are able to come out and serve the most in need or even just donate to keep it going.

Real fruit of faith and true prayers will be tested by the actions we take afterwards!

Look around you, seek those who are in need and those who are and let’s share in Christ’s sufferings by sacrificing ourselves and love one another in any way we can right now. That could mean simply praying for someone you have been talking to over the phone or following up with someone from church you haven’t heard from in a while or donating money to local nonprofits or even actually going out to serve in any capacity.

Let’s not stop our faith and let’s not fear!
Let’s shine the light of Jesus!

Please contact me to see what ways you can help our church during this time and please visit the Hope for New York COVID-19 resource page to see what urgent needs there are around the city.