Last Sunday evening Ruth and I were out walking in the Brandywine State Park and, in the early evening light, we stopped to admire the trees now slowly coming into bud. I said, “There’s always something new to see, depending on the light.”
That’s a statement which could be applied to the reading of Holy Scripture. There’s always something new to see, depending on the light of the Holy Spirit shining in your own spirit as you read. In this current time of testing, the words of Scripture have the power to calm our fears and lift our spirits. One reading in particular struck me during Evening Prayer on Sunday, as speaking to me in the present moment. It comes from the book of Joshua 1:9
The Lord said, “I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
As I read these lines aloud, it felt like God was reassuring me. When around me the world seems to be going crazy, I needed to hear it, for it was a reminder that God is always there, and I can call upon God at any time.
In the age of coronavirus, it seems as though everything is cancelled. However, not everything has been cancelled. We are still in the season of Lent, and Christians are under obligation to use this season in a productive way; with other things cancelled, there is now extra time and space for prayer, reading and reflection.
Please use this opportunity to draw closer to God – in prayer, by praying one of the daily offices e.g. Morning Prayer, or Evening Prayer, or Compline (Night Prayer). Pray for your church, and for your brothers and sisters at St Barnabas. Pray for the world, and especially those who will experience financial hardship. If we all make a commitment to do this, we will draw closer to one another even as we are separated from our regular Sunday worship.
The daily office is found in your Book of Common Prayer. As an alternative, I like to use Common Worship Daily Prayer from the Church of England. There’s an app which you can download which has all the prayers and readings in one place – it’s very convenient.
From Common Worship Daily Prayer came this prayer which I read this morning:
Lord, as you send rain and flowers
Even to the wilderness,
Renew us by your Holy Spirit,
Help us to sow good seed in time of adversity
And to live to rejoice in your good harvest of all creation;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Families looking for specific prayers can also pick up our Lenten devotional booklet, “Treasure in Clay Jars” – copies are free from the office, which is open from Monday to Friday between 9 am and 2 pm.
A final thought: as many of us are being kept indoors, this is also a good time to learn to do something new, like play a musical instrument. To inspire you, here is a picture sent to me by my friend Rev. Michael Simonsen, a pastor from the Evangelical Church in Germany, who recently visited Jerusalem with his son.
With every blessing