Many of you may have heard the line, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’.” Tony Campolo, a Christian speaker and sociologist, has famously shared the story through the years of a “preach off” he had at his church in Philadelphia with other pastors (though he said none of them officially called it a “preach off”). As he preached, he was encouraged by the audible response of the congregation of, “Keep going!” He was flying high as he finished and turned to his pastor as he sat down, saying, “Try and top that!” The pastor got up to preach and, using one line repeated over and over throughout his sermon, riled up the congregation, yelling “It’s Friday….but Sunday’s comin’,” referring to the death and resurrection of Jesus. He ended his sermon by yelling out “It’s Friday!”, to which the congregation boisterously responded, “But Sunday’s comin’!”
I’ve always loved that story and loved the truth of that statement. The reality is that it may feel like Friday, but Sunday has already come. This morning I received news that my uncle passed away. He was a quiet, reserved person with a servant’s heart. He’s had a number of health issues to deal with for a number of years. A few years ago, in the midst of his health struggle, he saw an opportunity to bless eduKenya when I was stressed about trying to get architectural drawings that we could not afford for our High School. In his quiet way he asked about the cost, and without fanfare, provided the resources to get the drawings. While the health issues raged on for my uncle, my aunt was an incredible example of understanding that Sunday is already here. Her faith, unwavering support and love have been something I aspire to. She has exemplified what it means to be a light and share the love of Christ.
Yesterday I learned about the struggles of a parent of one of our December graduates. When COVID-related shutdowns were announced and enforced in Kenya, she lost her job. She has two children of her own, along with a niece to feed and hasn’t had a job since March. The pressure was mounting on her to provide for her 3 children with no income. On the verge of not having food for her family, an eduKenya staff member sent some money to help out. Two weeks later, the same staff member, unable to sleep one night and thinking about this woman, sent a little more money. The next day the mother called and said the money had come just in time as she had run out of food. Additionally, her sister brought her 3 children because she could not feed them and left them with her. She was now trying to provide food for 6 children without a job. She shared in a lively tone, “It’s a hard situation, but I figured I will let the children be sleeping in until about noon, then when we wake up we only have to worry about getting one meal. I take my time cooking from about 1 pm so that when I am done at about 2:30 or 3 pm, we eat that one meal and call it a day. And life goes on and God is good.” A woman, in the midst of circumstances that could easily invoke hopelessness, that understands that Sunday is already here.
My life with eduKenya in general (and even more so these last 2-3 months) are filled with a bevy of heartbreaking and discouraging news. In the midst of seeing, knowing and understanding, albeit at a very minimal level, the difficulty people are going through leaves my tear ducts highly prepared for operation. As I read specific scriptures, or hear lyrics to different hymns or worship songs, the tear ducts, at the ready, begin to flow. I wonder if I am being overly emotional, but I have come to the conclusion that it is in those moments that I understand the fullness and gravity of dwelling in a time and place where Sunday has already come. I have the privilege of seeing God’s goodness in the midst of daily heartbreak in the lives of others, and in my own life. We may feel like we are living in a time of never ending Fridays, but we have the truth of living at a time when Sunday has already come. Our Friday may look like job loss, loss of life, ravaged retirement funds and income,or lack of food. We may feel like our circumstances are precariously hovering over a hopeless Friday, when all seems lost. Yet, while we sit in these moments, we don’t have to wait for a new job, the return of the stock market to record levels, or even to have food in our bellies and loved ones back with us, because we can be confident in the hopeful end of our story. We already know that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phillipians 1:21). While it may feel abstract right now, and out of touch in these trying moments, we can find comfort in that hope. For as long as we seek our stability, comfort, joy, purpose and life in things of this earth we will always end up feeling destabilized, uncomfortable, devoid of joy, and chasing never attainable purpose. Our hope is built, not on the circumstances of Friday’s hopelessness, but on Sunday’s joy and hope. It discreds circumstance and gives us our ultimate truth and hope. In no way do I mean to belittle the sorrow, challenge, discouragement and fear of our present reality. But these moments of uncertainty and fear also provide us an opportunity to step away from the false idol of earthly security and say, “I trust and I hope in Jesus.” Life will be hard at times – even devastating – but we will always know light and life that meet us each morning when we wake up. It is our choice to embrace or reject them. Embrace life and be used to love and serve others, as you live into the truth and hope of a Sunday that has already come.