“Life Together as God’s People”
Prayer “Gracious God, we give you thanks for the day, especially for the good we were permitted to give and to receive; the day is now past and we commit it to you. We entrust to you the night; we rest securely, for you are our help, and you neither slumber nor sleep; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The above prayer is in the “Night Prayer” section (p. 326) of our red book of worship. It can be prayed at night, but it is also a wonderful prayer of trust and hope and contentment in our God who holds us as individuals, and the whole world, in his hands.
We are in a strange time with this corona virus pandemic. There have been other times in recent memory where terrorism, shootings, and other tragedies have stoked uncertainty in our lives, and caused fear and terror to stalk around in our hearts.
We were able to see and identify the things we feared. However, in many or most of those situations, people could still gather, could cling to each other, give a powerful hug, and listen to each other’s prayersand fears and tears.
The corona virus is different. It is more of an unseen enemy and we don’t know fully how it works or when it may strike. We do know that the highly recommended “social distancing” divides us, separates us into groups of 10 or less. It takes us away from our favorite people, our favorite places to go and do and be.
In these days we notice more intensely how much we want to be together with friends, family, church family, etc. We miss that time together...and realize how much we not just want, BUT NEED that time together. God has made us with the need for others...
Into our uncertainty and isolation Easter offers us a unique opportunity.
In these days, it is helpful to remember and cling to the fact that God is with us. At Christmas we sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” (“God who is with us”). But anytime of the year, we celebrate our God who comes to us. God is here, right here with us! God walks with us, comforts us, reminds us of his promises to strengthen us, enliven us, and to gather us together once again!
Corona virus will not be here forever. And God holds us while it is. We may be afraid and very nervous, understandably, but it is important that we keep in mind that we have a God who says to us (even commands us) in many Biblical passages, “Fear not!”
We don’t want to let the insistent voices of fear that cram into our heads, push away the comfort and promises that come from our almighty God!
During Easter, we are powerfully reminded that we have a God who defeats sin and the devil, brings life from death, makes us new and holds us through all things!
Bad times come to an end, though scars, pain and struggle may continue. But God is with us and by faith we know that, even when terrible things happen, God has promised to hold us and be with us. It is a good promise. It is a strong and true promise. It leaves us in a good place, a place of trust, and place of life and fullness.
As Pastor Barbara Brown Taylor says in her book Gospel Medicine “what better way to live than in the grip of the promises (of God).”
Read the Psalms in Lent
I invite you to finish reading through the last Psalms of Lent: April 1--Psalm 105-106; April 2-Psalm 107-108; April 3--Psalm 109-115; April 4-Psalm 116-118; April 5-"Catch-Up Day” April 6--Psalm 119; April 7--Psalm 120-129; April 8--Psalm 130-137; April 9-Psalm138-142; April 10-Psalm 143-146; April 11 Psalm 147-50.
Prayers 1) God to lead us out of this pandemic crisis, economic disaster, our disunity, and into God’s future for this country and God’s whole world. 2) Christians to show the love of God, and welcome people to grace and hope.
Peace in our Lord, Pastor Mark