The Rev. David Luke is sharing a special message with Christians during Holy Week, which culminates Sunday with Easter and the remembrance of Jesus’ victory over the grave.
“One of the things that I have reminded my parishioners about of late is that faith is faith, and faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen,” Luke said. “I’m asking our perishers and every Christian to continue to believe in Christ Jesus — to believe that He’s never forsaken us.”
Luke pointed out that never before has such been more true than in today’s times as Americans and people around the world are experiencing something never witnessed by the majority of them.
He was referring to the global novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
“In these times, we have to depend on our faith — the faith that our ancestors talked about but we never had a chance to experience until now,” Luke said. “We are now in the most uncertain of times that many of us have ever lived in. And I believe as Christians, what I would have my parishioners and other Christians to believe is to just believe that God is in control, as chaotic as things may be, God is always in control.”
For 14 years, Luke served as senior pastor of Flipper AME Church in Milledgeville. In October 2019, he assumed the senior pastorship of Stone Springfield AME Church, located near Stapleton in Jefferson County.
Luke, who still resides in Baldwin County, also is a member of an organization called the Chapel AMC Corps, the college of pastoral supervision, which includes a group of pastors that have EMS certification. He also serves as the chaplain of Baldwin County Fire Rescue, as well as chaplain for Georgia Military College (GMC) in Milledgeville.
Luke said there is a psychological aspect to the theology that a person believes.
“So, if you sit and feed your mind all day with the news and data that we all see — things like 800 people having died in New York two days ago — if we continue to overload our minds with that then that could become detrimental to us as Christians,” Luke said. “The Bible teaches us that faith comes by hearing and reading the word of God.”
Luke said he believes there has to be some kind of balance between what we learn as information from news sources and what we feed our minds with from a spiritual standpoint at a time when so many millions of Americans are sheltered-in-place with their families because of the pandemic.
He said if there isn’t some balance between those two, the mind will lead to fear.
“The word of God says, ‘Let this mind that is in Christ Jesus also be in me,’” Luke said, explaining that that scripture was directed at Jesus’ disciples.
Jesus experienced something during Holy Week that many would not have wanted to experience. He was betrayed by those He trusted.
Asked what he will tell people if they ask him whether this is the end times, Luke quickly replied.
“I would tell them to continue to pray unto God, and that while I don’t believe these are the end times, certainly there’s revelatory evidence that the time is nearing,” Luke said.
He said there was a lot of comparison in scripture of what happened in the Biblical days to what is happening in the present.
“I would tell people to keep their ear to the heart of God and to continue to read the word of God that there be revelatory information as these days unfold,” Luke said.
The longtime pastor said Psalms 91 comes to his mind when asked where someone can go to find encouraging words during the present time.
“It’s one of the things we share on our prayer line, we refer to Psalms 91, verses 1 through 8,” Luke said. “We share with others that the Lord is with us and that we should continue to lean on God and trust in God’s word.”
Luke said that particular Psalm reminds that whoever dwells in the shelter of the most-high always rests in the shadow of the Almighty.
“And it reminds us to take refuge in the Lord and to trust Him,” Luke said. “In these uncertain times, we need to trust the Lord. We may not be able to trust in what the economy might be tomorrow, and we may not be able to trust in what the environmental circumstances might be tomorrow or we may not be able to trust in the evidence that we see as far as the numbers of people who are dying from this dreadful virus, but we can always trust in the Lord.”