Almighty God, your Son our Savior suffered at human hands and endured the shame of the cross. Grant that we may walk in the way of his cross and find in it the way of life and peace. In Christ Jesus we look for the living redeemer of the world. Show us this day with whom you would have us share His love and mercy as we wait to celebrate his victory over death and the grave. Through Jesus Christ, our Savior we pray. Amen.
Loving Father, as we begin this day, stir our hearts to think of how we can serve you as we help those who are lonely, with a phone call, a letter, or some other means of communication. We pray for our nation and its leaders, that they may follow your will in all of their leadership decisions and actions for the sake of your people. May we not forget those who are in need, those who suffer, and those who grieve. Pour out your spirit on us that our faith in you may grow stronger with each passing day. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Walking with Jesus
“I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for Him; in His Word is my hope. My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.” Psalm 130: 4-5
We, who live in a fast past world are learning a bit about waiting these days. I am learning a bit more about waiting, and it is not easy. My family does my grocery shopping when they can go to the grocery after work. I could go during the day when I would like to go, but no, I must wait until they can go for me during this concern over exposure to Covid 19,since I am more at risk than they are for coronavirus. All of our world has slowed down since stores and restaurants are closed for in-house business. Waiting is something we must relearn.
I remember as a teenager thinking that I would never be old enough to drive. It was a long wait. I had to wait until I was sixteen before I could date. That was another long wait. Then I got my driver’s license, and the big waiting period of my teen years were over. Freedom at last! I thought I could pretty well go when I pleased (of course at my parent’s discretion), and somewhere along the way I ceased to have patience because I did not have to wait for too many things. So maybe it is true that as we age we must relearning how to wait. If anything good comes from this pandemic it will be that it is teaching me again the value of waiting.
Part of our Christian maturity involves learning to wait. We ought to be confident not so much about our chances for a rosy outcome, or about exactly where, when and how God will act, but confident that He will act in God’s time. We wait in hope even while we “cry out of the depths” to God. The alternative to waiting on God is to lose hope and to spiral into despair. Winter will not last forever; spring is coming. Lenten darkness, repentance and sorrow have their rightful place with us, but Easter resurrection is our destiny. However painful our current circumstances, and however agonizing our honest questions—why we must endure pandemics like the corona virus, a job loss, wayward children, financial disaster, chronic sickness—
As we learn to wait our Christian faith teaches us that God in Christ will conquer and transform even the ultimate enemy death. For now, we must wait, and confidently “cast every anxiety upon him, because he cares for us” (1 Peter 5:7). For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15–16).
- Is waiting difficult for you? In what ways are you learning to wait on God.
- What other lessons of value can we learn from the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Where else do we see God teaching people in the Bible to wait?
O God, you are the life of all who live and the strength of all who labor, we humbly seek your face that you will strengthen our faith and hope in you and kindle our hearts with the fire of your love that we may serve those who mourn, those who are ill, and those who struggle with fear. Give us such an awareness of your mercies that we live this day with thankful hearts and give you praise in all that we do. Through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray. Amen
Faithful God, thank you for loving us, and supporting us during these hours and days of uncertainty and illness. Pardon and forgive us of our sins. As we walk with you to the cross and await your resurrection of hope and life, fix our minds and hearts on doing your will and on bringing love and peace to others in their time of need. Give us the peace that only you can give through the mercies of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen
Holy and most merciful God, as we begin this week, be our light in the darkness of these days. Defend us from all perils and dangers of the Corona virus and teach us to hold on to you in our weaknesses, and seek you always as our strength. May we be bound together by your Holy Spirit in the communion of all your saints entrusting one another and all of our lives to Christ our Lord, keep us in the joyful procession of those who confess Jesus as Lord and with their lives praise him as Savior. Amen
Walking With Jesus
“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.” Psalm 31:24
Psalm 31 is a song of lament, yet this last verse is a word of encouragement, a word of faith and hope. It is saying to us that lament is not the end of the story. It is saying that even in the midst of our fear and sorrow, and our uncertainties in life, we can have confidence and look toward the future. These are not cliché statements like we might hear when someone says “It’s going to be okay” or “Everything happens for a reason.” No these words in the Psalm are words of trust in the very source of life itself, God, our creator and redeemer.
Lament does two things simultaneously. It deals with anguish and expresses hope. We often think that these two things cannot coexist. Most of the time we feel we only can be in the dark places of life as either one or the other. If we have hope, then we shouldn’t feel anguish. If we feel anguish we will have no hope. Yet the psalmist tells us that in the very depth of our anguish, our darkest times, we can also have hope.
That is what we can hold onto in these times of the Coronavirus pandemic. I am not saying that we don’t continue to fear the dreaded disease that surrounds us, but that in the midst of our fear and lament, in the midst of our tears and sorrow for those who are ill and those who are dying, we can also have hope in God and take courage that this time of anguish will pass as we wait for the Lord. And, while we wait we follow the cleanliness instructions we have been given by health officials to do our part in fighting the disease.
Bad times present us with a challenge and a choice. The challenge is a closer walk with God. The choice is for disappointment or faith. Many times we pray for deliverance. Save us, Lord, from this predicament. Many times, God answers that prayer, with an inner strength to carry on through the darkness and the battle. In either case, the challenge and the choice are the same. Come closer to the Lord; and choose faith over despair.
In his final moments on the cross, Jesus reflected on his challenge and choice. It was there that Jesus prayed scripture, “Into your hands O Lord, I commend my spirit. You redeem me, O Lord, faithful God.” (Luke 23:46). On the cross, Jesus reminded his enemies of his faith in God, by reciting Psalm 31:5. Here he gave us an example of how anguish and hope can coexist. In our prayers this week let us thank God for giving the strength needed for others and for ourselves as we endure the fears and uncertainties with this pandemic.
- As you pray this week will you remember to include a prayer of thanksgiving to God for strengthening you each day to face whatever comes with courage?
- Can you give praise and thanks to God for all those who are working night and day to save those who are ill and all those who are seeking ways to provide a vaccination against the Corona virus?