Eternal God, your Word reminds us that “for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Today, we hold onto you for strength, joy, faith and hope. Come to us and walk with us to strengthen, comfort, and fill us with the joy of your presence and the hope of a new day when we will once again work and play together physically. We long to once again experience a season of smiles and laughter on our pilgrimage through this world. Be present to strengthen and comfort all those who have lost loved ones. In a strong and sure faith in you, may we share our hope in you with all we reach out to this day. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.
Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. 1 Peter 1:22-23
When I read these verses about how God has loved us and how we are called to love one another I think about my friend Laura who dearly loved animals. She rescued dogs, donkeys and other animals throughout her life. When she died two years ago she had five dogs, all of which she had rescued from the local animal shelter. I became heir of one of them. One particular dog she rescued, she named Ransom. Ransom was not in good health when she took him home. She nursed Ransom back to good health, but soon after he became a healthy dog he disappeared. Losing Ransom was difficult for Laura because she had put so much love and care into nursing him back to good health. She had really grown to love that dog. However, Ransom returned one day with another dog that was in worse shape than he had been when Laura rescued him. Ransom had found a friend that needed to be rescued and so he brought him to his rescuer for help.
That is how the good news is shared. That is why the good news of Jesus Christ is shared with others who are on a road to sadness, frustration and maybe even destruction. It is an imperative gift of love that we pass on to others in need of God’s love because His love impels us to share. We share the love of God, our Rescuer, with someone else and give them the gift of God’s love and forgiveness that has been given to us. That imperishable seed of God’s love and forgiveness is not a gift to take for granted, but a gift we simply are impelled to share. It is a gift with an impelling drive of urgency that is filled with compassion.
Being a Christian is all about being loved by God which empowers and enables us to love our neighbor, and in so doing we witness to the love of God. New people do new things. When we are so busy thinking about ourselves, our silence, or looking the other way, our inaction testifies, but not of God’s imperishable seed of love. But, in so doing, we deny the truth of who we are and who Jesus calls us to be. When we fail to reach out to others with God’s love we are not testifying about who we are. We are called by Christ to become who we are. The Christian lives out the imperatives of sharing God’s love because he/she is a Christian. Through the living sacrifice of our lives for our neighbors we continually become who we are as a child of God.
How often have you declined your identity as a Christian by not sharing your faith?
How often have you deferred testimony of God’s love to others?
Have you ever thought that it wouldn’t make a difference anyway so you were silent?
Have you ever been a rescuer, like my friend’s dog, Ransom?
Gracious and loving God, you are “our refuge and strength and a very present help in trouble.” We thank you for upholding us and giving us support during these days of illness and death of so many people throughout the world. We thank you for your love which communicates to each of us how much you love all people, and how you grieve with us at the death of anyone. We cannot deny the reality of all the problems this pandemic has brought to our world, but you, O Lord, revives our hope and gives us faith to walk in the power of your love. We rejoice in your presence, and the strength you provide. May we reach out to support and strengthen someone else who is suffering or fearful this day. We give you thanks that you continue to be our refuge in every storm of life. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Holy Father, we pray for the return of laughter and joy in the midst of the suffering that is all around us. Change our sadness into dancing, and our mourning into singing praises to you. We have faith that you are present in our world guiding us toward healing and hope, and experiencing the joy of our salvation. Bring us out of fear and sadness into a place of laughter and joy that provides a relief to this unremitting sadness. We will sing joyful songs of praise and thanksgiving and know that your Spirit is the energy that puts us on the path to healing, balance and peace. In the name of our Lord and Savior we pray. Amen.
Lord God of all creation, as we step outside in the early morning to see the rising sun, or in the evening to see the night sky, may we be reminded that your deliverance, faithful God, is always near, and always in the process of coming to fulfillment. In the silence of the darkness may we not be troubled but feel your steadfast love that you shower upon us even as we wait for your light to appear. Your resurrection swallows up death and darkness and brings the light of a new day. The mystery of your light on the horizon grows and guides us through the darkness of our troubled times. Thank you faithful God for your comforting presence in the dark and for the promise of light in the dawning of a new day. Amen.
Dear Father in heaven, as your Son made himself known in the breaking of the bread, open the eyes of our faith, that we may see his redeeming work in our world today. Fill us with your Holy Spirit that we will recognize Jesus in the people around us, in the beauty of nature, and in the events of our lives. So fill us with your Spirit that we will boldly reach out to others who need to see Jesus in the midst of their suffering, fear, loneliness and disappointment. Fill us with the boldness of your love we pray, in the holy name of Jesus. Amen.
God of hope, the reality of the many losses that people are experiencing during this coronavirus crisis somehow stifles the words of comfort I seek to give. All language seems inadequate, and I am left with only the stillness and silence that we share. I look to you O God, in this stillness for the guidance of your Spirit. We wait patiently for you to save and bring comfort and healing to all who are ill and to the hearts and lives that are broken. We wait in trust for divine relief, for your Word tells us that “All who wait upon the Lord will be rewarded.” Help me this day to be a blessing and a comfort to others. In Jesus blessed name we pray. Amen.
God of hope, these days seem long in the darkness of this Coronavirus that holds us captive in our homes. Fill our hearts with your peace, and increase our faith and trust in you as we take care of our loved ones and neighbors, and ourselves in these dark times. May your love and peace light our way. May you strengthen and comfort all those who are suffering from coronavirus, and all those caretakers, and medical teams who are treating those who are ill. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.
Father, your Word tells us to not be anxious for anything, but to come to you in prayer. Open our hearts that we might be willing to share with you everything in our lives that breaks our confidence and takes us away from you. Give us a willing heart to share our lives with you so that we hold back nothing. Give us a waiting and attentive heart to listen to you in silence. Father we thank you for the promises that you have given us through Jesus Christ, you Son, our Lord and Savior. Fill us with your Spirit and show us who we need to serve this day in your precious name. Amen
Lord God, you invite us through your Word to cast our burdens upon you. These are times when our hearts are heavy and burdened with the sadness and the fear that this coronavirus brings to all people. Help us, O Lord, to remember that “Your yoke is easy and Your burdens are light.” Lord, help us to look beyond our challenges of separation from others, staying at home and not being able to work, and rejoice in the promise of your strength that will sustain us in all of our circumstances. We give you praise and adoration as we live in your grace and mercy this day. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.