MEDITATION written by the Rev. Dr. William Ives Facing the Enemy PEACE VS CORONAVIRUS The coronavirus pandemic is scary indeed. Our State Premier said: "There is light at the end of the tunnel but the tunnel will be dark." We cannot ignore it. It won’t go away soon. We have to face the long, hard and anxious haul ahead of us. How can we do that? Wondering if I have ever faced anything like it, I vividly recall an incident when I was only eleven. I was on a holiday from Goulburn and at Taronga Zoo. Looking across Sydney Harbour I saw a merchant ship displaying the Swastika, the German flag: . I knew what that represented and my inner fears about it were realized two nights later when walking with cousins from a church social evening. Newspaper boys were yelling out, “War! War!” That night I saw the enemy face to face: angst gripped my young heart. I knew what war was. Back home in my classroom I was confronted daily by the large, stark, grim picture on the wall ahead of us - “The Landing at Gallipoli”. Carnage! For the next six formative years of my life I was engulfed with everyone in that evil scourge. People worldwide have to face another enormous crisis - the present pandemic! Thankfully some actions will help alleviate this evil menace but meantime deep anxieties and disruption to our lives will prevail. Is there a way to face it all or must we simply endure it? Does our faith show us a way? Yes it does. Jesus was facing his enemies, the Jewish authorities, his death on the Cross, and, even more, something we cannot fully grasp. Through his death Jesus was going to bear the enormous, unknowable load of all the sin of the world. That is what we contemplate to-day. But as we do so this year perhaps we can identify more closely with the disciples than is usual because of the fear gripping the world. In the upper room Jesus informed his disciples of his impending death. Think what that must have meant to his disciples. That sombre night and the very next day, Good Friday, the disciples were to face the enormity of it all, the loss of Jesus and the frightening prospect, not only of life without Jesus, but also danger for themselves. Yet one brilliant light shone in the gloom of that Upper Room. Jesus prepared his friends for what lay ahead of them by announcing his last legacy for them in the midst of great stress. He said to them: Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you...Let not your hearts be troubled (John 14.27). That precious gift was his final legacy. It was all he had to give them but it had everything they needed to see them through what lay ahead of them for the rest of their lives. And know this, it can be the same for us as we face the present enemy and anything else in life. What’s more, it works. (Ian Brownlee, a Scot in his thirties came to me, greatly distressed, in my final year as a student minister. He told me he had cancer of the stomach and the prognosis was extremely serious. He was married, they had a little girl and his wife was expecting again. He was beside himself with fear and anxiety. I was inexperienced: I doubt I had much of help to say but whatever I inadequately said, God took it, and used it because, as Ian told me later, “When I left you my concern had completely disappeared. I hoped I hadn’t left my worries with the minister!” That amazing peace saw him through surgery and remained with him till his death five years later. God gave him peace. Jesus’ peace was what He gave his friends as they faced their present and future turmoil. What more than that do we need as we face our lot?) I love sharing this definition: Peace is the possession of adequate resources.