Service prepared by Jackie Laar.
It is a year ago since reports about a new Corona virus started to appear on our televisions. We saw images of the wet markets in Wuhan where the virus was alleged to have been found. We listened to interviews with doctors perplexed by the disease. It all seemed very far away… until, of course, the images showed European hospitals instead of Asian ones. Now, we have lockdowns and sanitizers, masks and mixed messages, and one of the highest infection mortality rates, per capita, in the world.
I am always comforted by the complete confidence shown by St Paul, in his letter to the Romans:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 8:38-39
As we journey through these difficult times, it can be hard to trust in God and His promise of salvation, to see His light, to accept His love, and to recognise His kingdom. But Jesus taught us that God is always with us, and we need not fear. Nothing can separate us from God, our Father, or Jesus, our brother and our friend.
This theme is reflected in this month’s first Taizé song:
Song (119): Nothing can ever come between us and the love of God
A reflection – extracts from an article by one of the Taizé brothers:
‘As the pandemic began to establish itself in France, Brother Emile of Taizé wrote: “In a time of trial, we can sometimes latch onto a verse from a psalm or from the gospel as to a life preserver. And perhaps the more the words we are using are simple and direct, the more helpful they are.
One person may say: “The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear ?”
Another will remember the words Jesus spoke during the storm on the lake: “It is I. Do not be afraid.”
Each one of us perhaps can think of a text that provided support in a time of need or distress.’
Which Bible verse gives YOU comfort and builds your trust in our loving God?
‘Brother Roger, who founded the Taizé community, wrote: “What is best in our life grows out of a simple trust in God.”
In this time of hardship for so many, Brother Emile encourages us to try to understand that he is drawing our attention to a gift, pointing to a path that is open and on which we can walk, a way of being that enhances what is possible.
“What is best in our life grows out of a simple trust in God.”
It’s one of the most demanding and at the same time the most liberating phrases of Brother Roger. We can wonder: how is it possible to express one’s faith with such striking simplicity? No doubt his words have come from the experience of an entire lifetime, a life that did not contain only success. Brother Roger was not averse to speaking about some of the failures he had experienced. Yes, life can at times cast you down, and discouragement can take over. But Brother Roger knew as well that we can get up again.
Our Taizé song, “The Kingdom of God”, takes up a verse from Romans: “The Kingdom of God is justice and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”(14: 18) and adds to it words taken from Brother Roger: “Open in us the gates of your kingdom.”
By our trust, …the humble trust of which we are capable, that is offered and that is only begging to grow in us, the Kingdom of God comes near.’
Song (115) The Kingdom of God
1 Keep me safe, my God,Psalm 16 (NIV)
for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
3 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips
5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Song: (137)Behutte mich Gott
“Keep me God, for I trust in you. You show me the path of life..”
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”John 14:27 (ESV)
Song (53) Dona la pace
“Give peace, O lord, to those who trust in you.”
Song (127) : I am sure I shall see the goodness of the Lord
Almighty God, as our world seems to groan under the combined weights of the Pandemic, Poverty and Climate change, help us to open our hearts and minds to your peace, the peace that passes all understanding. Help us to trust you.
Sometimes, Lord, when we are alone, bombarded by news and grim statistics, we may feel lonely, apprehensive and afraid that nothing will ever be the same again. In those moments, Lord, be with us, so that we feel your love surrounding us, and help us to remember that you will never leave us.
In the midst of our uncertainty we may wonder how to keep ourselves, our families, places of work and places of worship afloat in a time of economic emergency. We ask you to protect us all and to show us the path that leads us to you.
We remember before you, O Lord, the millions of people who are laid off from work, and for those who must continue to work because they provide essential services – or cannot otherwise feed their families. We pray for all involved in health care and community service, feeling overwhelmed and in danger of burn out. We pray for teachers and children home schooling. And for those isolated at home, or away from their families.
We live in a small community. Give us strength and courage Lord to reach out and support each other. We pray for the needy and the sick, and those who are afraid of getting the virus. We pray for all who have died.
Finally, we pray for ourselves and our own needs ………………….
Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of Your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Lord’s Prayer, in sign language, may help us to focus on the meaning of the words that Jesus taught us, when he showed us how to pray to His -and our- Father…
Song: O Lord hear my prayer
May God help you find Him in the every day.
May you see the goodness of our God… hold firm, trust in the Lord….”
May He bless you and yours and may what is best in your life grow out of a simple trust in Him.
A verse to takeaway…
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.Psalm 37:3