At the time of writing the UK is in a lockdown, We are encouraged, if not instructed, by our Government to stay at home to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. This is a virus we cannot see and is spreading like an invasion on the world through human beings, through people who are in contact with one another. Staying at home minimises the spread whilst solutions are found. The virus has a mild effect on some people, others record it as a devastating drowning effect on their lungs and others lose the gift of their lives. We individually have no control and collectively are encouraged to support one another.
So where do we look for hope?
My prayers are with the Government, the NHS, the pharmacists, the scientists, the staff in care homes, the staff in the supermarkets, the grocers, the farmers, the emergency services, the refuse collectors, the post office and delivery agents, the volunteers and many others who seek to help each one us come through this crisis. My prayers are that these people will be blessed in the work they do and have the resources and the health, strength and resilience to carry out their work for us and that we will defeat this virus. I look first to Jesus Christ as Christians have in every crisis in our history since his death, resurrection and ascension, because it is the living Jesus Christ who comes to us in a broken world and who we partner with in our prayers and actions. The one who defeats death and defeats evil and bring us hope and healing, made available to us through the faith we have in Jesus Christ as the living son of God, our Father.
Paul in his letter to the Church in Rome says:
“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation”
We are blessed to be able to join in conversation with God, through prayer and to partner with him to bring about a better world. Prayer is something that is part of our makeup.
There have been many calls to prayer from the Church in the last few weeks, our praise and worship in times of crisis and need is also a prayer. Matt Redman’s ‘Bless the Lord O my Soul’ is a worship song that encourages us to partner with Christ in praise, even in times of crisis.
We have the privilege as people of God with a firm belief in God’s son, Jesus Christ to enter into conversation with a living God who wants to work with us to heal a broken world. Our prayers are ones of thanksgiving, of hope and for others.
“Loving Father, gracious Son, Holy Spirit, we give you thanks today that we may know you and that your love for us is beyond our understanding. You see the brokenness of our world, you feel the pain of suffering and of heartbreak and you see the separation of your people from you and from each other. Help us to turn to you in faith and in hope and return your love in praise and in prayer. We pray for all those who are suffering from the virus, that they may know your healing. We pray for all those who are fighting to eradicate this infection and to protect us and feed us and maintain our lives, that they will know your presence and blessing with them in every hour. We call out to you to bring your healing to this crisis. We bring these prayers to you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Saviour. Amen”
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
The writer of Hebrews (Hebrews 10:19-35) call us to persevere in our faith and prayers.
“Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
We have known crises before in our world. After 9/11, Matt Redman wrote this worship song ‘Blessed be your name’ encouraging us to call on our Lord in prayer and praise in times of abundance and of darkness.
Our hope is in the light of Christ in times of darkness and crisis, as well as in plenty.