11 Jun 2020 • From Elizabeth, our Vicar
Exodus 19 verses 2-8a, Romans 5 verses 1-8, Matthew 9 verses 35 – chapter 10 verse 8
‘Everything the Lord has spoken we will do’. Exodus 19 verse 8.
‘God’s love has been poured into our hearts’. Romans 5 verse 5.
‘Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest’. Matthew 9 verse 38
We find ourselves living in unusual times which, however familiar the current mode of living may have become, arrived seemingly out of nowhere and with little warning. Probably we should have been more aware of the cloud approaching on the horizon. We’ve stretched the world thinly, we’re worked the world hard, we’ve rested the world little. We’ve taken and taken from the world more than it could offer and we’ve been unwilling to give back to the world all that it deserved, all that it needed; and now the world has collapsed, exhausted.
Suddenly the greed and selfishness of the human race is exposed, hung out on the line to confront us all; and we can’t hide from it. There’s been too little investment in the good things and too much investment in the not so good. There’s been too much funding for individual and corporate gain and too little funding in the welfare of people in their vulnerable seasons of life. The world has rung the bell and called time on the hyperactivity of us all with the authority of the pub landlord at closing time.
Perhaps we will all learn, through this crisis, to need less for ourselves and want more for other people.
It’s the task of people of faith to seek the will of God in the testing times of life.
When the people of Israel are camped in the wilderness, desolate in a new land, unsure of what life will be like for them now, Moses reaches out to God and seeks his knowledge and will for the people. When Moses retells that knowledge and will to the Israelites, ‘the people all answered as one, “Everything that the Lord has spoken we will do.”’
In his letter to the Christians in Rome Saint Paul doesn’t shy away from the reality of suffering in the world but calls on people of faith to seek the hope that is always there and to hold fast to the truth that, ‘God’s love has been poured into our hearts.’
As he travels the cities and villages Jesus sees the great task that there is waiting to be done. We might expect to hear despair at the enormity of it all, instead we see Jesus saying that yes, the job is going to be tough – like bringing in an unexpectedly large harvest of grain – but they have only to ask God, to seek God’s will, and the Lord of the harvest will send labourers to gather the crop safely in.
The world is going to need a blanket of healing from the current pandemic if we’re to bring it back to a degree of health and wellness, for all of its people, that hasn’t been experienced for many long years. And just as recovery from major surgery or a serious illness takes time and rest, and can’t be hurried, so we have to be willing to give to the world a season of recovery. We can’t expect it to be again the world that it was – wearied, tired, drained of energy, exhausted. We can open the church buildings, but we can’t yet hold gatherings in them, because it’s too soon. We can encourage and enable people to use those spaces for prayer, for meditation, for reflection. They can be the place where people can ask ‘why’. They can be the place where people of faith can begin to seek the will of God, following those examples set for us by Moses, by Saint Paul and Jesus disciples.
Reverend Elizabeth Cathie
A Collect prayer
The strength of all those who put their trust in you,
mercifully accept our prayers
and, because through the weakness of our mortal nature
we can do no good thing without you,
grant us the help of your grace,
that in the keeping of your commandments
we may please you both in will and deed;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation:
to you belong all times and seasons,
the light and the darkness,
our hopes and our anxieties,
our health and our sickness.
Open our hearts and minds to your presence with us now,
and as we wait upon you grant the desires of our hearts
as may be best for us. Amen.
Take some time to pray in silence for those who are sick,
those who are bereaved,
those who are struggling with the restrictions to daily life,
and those who are on your own heart and mind this day.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven.
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.Amen.
May the eternal God enfold us with love,
fill us with peace,
and lead us in hope
to the end of our days.
And the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
be with us this day and always. Amen