March 23rd – March 28th 2020

Monday March 23rd, a thought from Steve B:

‘The LORD is my shepherd …’
Today was the first day of a new week. It felt like a strange day in many ways, because for many of us it was the first day we were not heading out to work or school but rather staying at home. For others, they are simply playing catch up! Despite the warmth of the spring day, I’m sure many of us felt disconnected, confused and full of questions. These words from yesterday‘s readings echo in our ears: ‘the Lord IS our shepherd.’ They remind us of God’s presence, guidance and love for us, no matter what our day holds and no matter where we are in life’s journey. Lord, may your peace be with us. Amen.

Tuesday March 24th, a thought from Steve B:

“Be still!” Another day and another announcement – and a shocking one at that! Now we’re all distancing, and for good reason, of course. When I went out for my daily exercise I was struck by the stillness – a Tuesday afternoon was like an early Sunday morning. The words of Psalm 46:10 came to mind ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ Many of us – me included – are struggling to ‘be still’ and stay home. I certainly don’t think this verse means ‘do nothing’ or ‘don’t be active in God’s mission.’

“Be still and know that I am God.”

(Psalm 46:10)

Perhaps, in these difficult days, we can read this psalm as ‘Be at peace, and know God is with us’ – with us in the loneliness of enforced solitude, with us in the chaos of home schooling, with in silence of the small hours. Lord, be with our NHS workers in these days – may they know you peace and presence. Amen.

Wednesday March 25th, a thought from Nicole:

Children in general have a natural reaction to something that frightens them or makes them feel uncomfortable: They turn to their parents and hide in their embrace – or maybe just behind their leg! Yesterday was a day when parenting involved a lot of hugging and closeness. When we become older, we react differently to worry, anxiety and fear – we find our own coping mechanisms, not always for the best: some stockpile toilet roll, others pretend there is no danger… When maybe what we need is to turn to our Heavenly Father, seek to be close to God, hide in the shadows of his wings:

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by.”

(Psalm 57:1)

Thursday March 26th, a thought from Nicole:

We’re celebrating a birthday in our house today. That means, I have been cooking a meal (in our house you get to choose a meal on your birthday) with a few parts that resemble a traditional Thanksgiving meal: Green bean casserole, Pumpkin Pie… This may not be everyone’s cup of tea; however, I love the idea of giving thanks – in the middle of Lent, during a pandemic. Today, I choose to be thankful: for a birthday worth celebrating, food on the table, a house to isolate in, sunshine that is balm for my soul. Tonight, we’re also expressing our thankfulness for our health professionals at 8pm, by stepping outside, or opening the window and clapping. What are YOU thankful for today?

Friday March 27th, a thought from Dwight:

‘We pray for our work today, that it may serve our neighbour and be pleasing to you.’
This was in my prayers today. In the time of physical distancing and self-isolating, ‘work’ is disrupted in every normal sense. For some of us, self-isolating for underlying health issues, and\or on the edge of being ‘elderly’, helping others has become problematic. For me, every fibre of my being urges me to be ‘out there’ involved with those around me who are struggling through each day and every night. How do I serve my neighbour in the time of Covid-19? If our circumstances permitted, I would join in local community efforts. Barring that, I have determined to pray each day for each person in our church by name—if you read this but are not currently locally involved, but would like to be included, just let me know. But…what about my neighbour?

Saturday March 28th, a thought from Louise:

As someone who lives alone this kind of isolation is nothing new (although I know I do tend to go a little stir crazy after a while – about 6 days if you’re wondering!). Along with the challenges single-living can bring, right now I feel thankful – no home-schooling, no cross-contamination, space and silence to work…

In sharp contrast I’ve been praying earnestly for those in situations where enforced isolation means limited choice and fear: for the guests in our Night Shelter; for migrant workers in crowded camps; for friends living in densely populated cities in S.Asia; for people living in refugee camps around the world; people living in hostels or on the streets in our own country; friends in India who have told me this week that they don’t have the resources to buy food for their families as they are obedient to ‘lockdown’ orders; and people in our own church communities and ministries who find themselves cut-off from various networks of support.

God of justice, compassion, and peace, be present with those who are yearning for space and those who long to be closer. Help us to imitate Your love for the human family by recognising that we are all connected. Amen.

Related video from BBC News, Coronavirus: Fears of virus in Idlib refugee camps: Click Here