I am giving you worship with all my life,
I am giving you obedience with all my power,
I am giving you praise with all my strength,
I am giving you honour with all my speech.
I am giving you love with all my heart,
I am giving you affection with all my sense,
I am giving you my being with all my mind,
I am giving you my soul, O most high and holy God.
Praise to the Father,
Praise to the Son,
Praise to the Spirit,
The Three in One.
God our Father, by whose mercy the world turns safely into darkness and returns again to light: we place in your hands our unfinished tasks, our unsolved problems, and our unfulfilled hopes, knowing that only what you bless will prosper.
To your love and protection we commit each other and all those we love, knowing that you alone are our sure defender, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The announcement by our Prime Minister on Monday evening of further restrictions, emphasising to all but a few the requirement to stay home, highlighted the seriousness of this pandemic. For all of us, whether by nature we are those who up until now have looked for ‘ways round’, or those who have said the country has have been slow in reacting, looking for certainty and clarity, this is a big change to our way of living. Things are no longer the same and we need to protect ourselves and isolate ourselves from each other.
So we are all involved in things which we have not witnessed before. I attended a Year 11 leavers assembly last Friday. Students who may never be together again, with uncertainty about exams and grades. It was the 20th March! There are few cars driving past the busy road where we live. There is no longer a ‘rush hour’. I can hear birdsong in GWP for the first time. With everything pretty much shut down we are all having to engage with new technology to ‘get-together’. But we are and we must.
I have seen the wonderful drawings of children who have stuck pictures of colourful rainbows in their windows. On Sunday many of us lit a candle in solidarity with others praying for our nation and the world. Community support groups are helping practically and are doing a great job encouraging us. Others are putting notes through neighbours doors introducing themselves for the first time.
It is good to think of others at times like these, even if we think what we offer is limited.
The story of Moses’ encounter with God was the bible reading set in the lectionary for today. The narrative is expansive, with God revealing himself in fire and in miraculous signs. Moses, who will act as both prophet and military leader to the exiled Jewish nation says repeatedly, ‘I can’t do this’. But God sees beyond his uncertainty and commissions him anyway. What strikes me is that throughout this narrative God reassures. He says to Moses, “‘I know their [the people of Israel’s] sufferings.” He repeats to Moses “But I will be with you.” If Moses had known what he would have to endure to see God’s promise fulfilled he may have objected more! But he doesn’t, he is faithful and plays his part in God’s promise to free Israel and to prosper.
It strikes me that sometimes we have to simply accept that we have no idea how things will work out. Handing over our concerns is often a good way to relieve our stress. We admit that we have no answer yet agree to follow, lead and be led. Jesus was committed to his Father’s plan even though, for him, it involved the ultimate sacrifice.
As we worry about these uncertain times, perhaps the best thing we can do is to hand it over to God and be willing to be led. We need to continue to care and to love, as much as to follow advice to protect ourselves. We must also look for signs of God’s presence, who promises ‘to be with us.’
Christians believe that God is love. There is evidence all through the Bible that God loves people. The verse in the Bible that tells us that God is love is in John’s first letter. Here it is below. I have used the King James translation as it forms the lyrics of the catchy song below for you to listen to and learn.
Beloved, let us love one another:
for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1 John 4:7-8
These verses also tell us to love one another. It is hard at the moment to show people far away from us that we love them. Below are some hearts to colour. As you colour each one, think about the people you love. Maybe they live with you and you are seeing far too much of them. Maybe they are far away. Use your colouring time to pray for your family and friends whether they are near or far.
Dear Father God, You are love. Today I pray for ____________
Help me to show them that I love them.
There are several ways you can get involved, whether it be serving, donating or joining one of our weekly life groups, we can point you in the right direction.