But the Message Is the Same

What a year.

I just…

What. A. Year.

Way back in 2019 (which was, by my count, just 83 short months ago), I remember joking that 2020 was going to be a great year for hindsight jokes. “In retrospect, we really should have seen this year coming”—that sort of thing.

Yeah, uh… at this point, I think it’s safe to say that no one could have seen this year coming. Fires, riots, hurricanes, and a pandemic that has thrown a monkey wrench into the global economy while prompting some of the angriest and most misinformed social media disputes I have ever seen in my life. Each month brings some new facet of this dumpster fire of a year into sharp relief, and none of it is surprising me anymore. If October rolls around and someone tells me Godzilla has been spotted emerging from the murky, irradiated depths of the Pacific Ocean, I’m not sure I’ll be able to manage anything more than a resigned shrug.

It’s still surreal to think we didn’t get to come together for Passover this year. Or… any of the spring holy days, for that matter. I remember thinking this would all have to be over by Pentecost, and yet… here we are. Trumpets starts at sunset tonight. Very, very soon we’ll be leaving for Tabernacles—where we’ll wear masks, stand six feet apart from others, and attend services every other day. As excited as I am to be there, absolutely nothing about this year’s holy days has felt like normal.

Except the message.

The message is still the same.

Even when we’re wearing masks and giving each other space—even on the days we aren’t able to come together at all—the all-important message of God’s holy day plan remains intact and unaltered. The reason we keep these feasts and holy days, that yearly reminder of God’s plan of salvation and deliverance for the whole world, is not contingent on things feeling normal.

Passover still teaches us to begin and equips us to enter the fray.

Unleavened Bread still teaches us to keep going and continue resisting.

Pentecost still teaches us to do the work and to stay busy during the gap.

Trumpets still teaches us that the King is coming and shows us how to reverse-engineer our destiny.

Atonement still teaches us to remember our Creator and stay focused on the goal in whatever state we are.

Tabernacles still teaches us to look ahead and reminds us that we have less time than we think.

The Last Great Day still teaches us to continue onward and invites us to reflect on the journey so far.

There are recurring themes woven through these days like threads through a tapestry: the sacrifice that made God’s plan possible, the battle that remains for us to fight, and the unshakable, unconquerable, unending Kingdom that waits for us at the end of it all. There are markers reminding us, “Here you are,” “Here you were,” and, “Here you’ll be.” The feasts of the Lord are a beautiful and intricate map that helps us focus and refocus on the reason we were called—the reason we exist. Nothing and no one can cancel the intrinsic value and purpose of these days.

No matter how crazy this year—or any year—gets, the message is the same:

  • “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
  • “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:11-12).
  • “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22).
  • “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
  • “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:1-3).
  • “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
  • “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4).

In a world where nothing feels normal anymore, the message might be more important than ever.

Hold on tight to what matters.

Until next time,

P.S. All the Sabbath Thoughts I’ve linked to above (and more) are compiled in the Sabbath Thoughts Holy Day Reader. You can download it as a free ebook here or buy a physical copy through Amazon.*

*I tried to send this out before the Sabbath, but I have a lot of readers in a lot of timezones. If you’re reading this on the Sabbath, please ignore the Amazon link until after sunset 🙂

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