He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. Isaiah 40:22
God is in control. That doesn’t change, what has changed is that we no longer feel in control.
Are you frightened? Try to cut down on the number of times you check the latest news. Instead, think of ways to take action. Did you manage to get to church on Sunday? If so, I’m sure you will have felt uplifted. I was challenged to take Try Praying books to my neighbours with a note saying I’m happy to help if they are self-isolating. Is this something you feel able to do?
If you would like to reach out to your neighbours in this way, please feel free to use one of these three printable letters. Choose the one you feel most comfortable with. You don’t have to put yourself or your neighbours at risk – get them to leave things outside and you can leave shopping on their porch. It might be enough just for them to have your phone number. I’ve had a couple of lovely texts, voicemails and cards since I took my notes round yesterday. When all this is over, we can use each other’s numbers to organise a street party!
In a world of fear, the church must rise up:
Choose Faith over Fear
- Stay prayerful
- Stay wise
- Stay kind
- Stay united
- Stay connected
- Stay confident
From Nicky Gumbel’s message on Sunday
@SteveFoster @nickygumble @HTBChurch
Prayer for a Pandemic
May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember the most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those that have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
Let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbours.
Cameron Bellm, Seattle @krugthethinker
Don’t let fear drive out love
Fear distorts what we are, and what we are supposed to be. In the Bible we read the phrase ‘perfect love drives out fear’ (1 John 4:18) but the opposite is also true: ‘perfect fear drives out love’. It drives a lot of other things out as well. Much that is wise is said at the moment about the virtues of handwashing and I am happy to endorse that wisdom. Yet in thinking about fear and morality it’s interesting that the one celebrated biblical case of handwashing – that of Pontius Pilate at the trial of Jesus – involved a man failing to do what was obviously the right thing because he was in the grip of fear (Matthew 27:24). There’s a lesson there.
The Bible records that only hours before Jesus was arrested, he promised this to his disciples: ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid’ (John 14:27).
That’s the peace of a pure heart that is capable of resisting the pressure of fear. It’s the peace that allows us to be stable, solid and caring whatever fears there may be. It’s the peace we need now. May you and I be granted it.
Canon J. John (read the full article here)
Fix your eyes on Jesus xx