“…For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt like we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:8b-9 (ESV)
In this text from 2 Corinthians, Paul’s burden was the persecution he experienced for sharing the gospel. He knew his personal power and strength could not possibly overcome the sufferings confronting him.
We, like Paul are in a position of trusting God more completely than ever before. That is not to say we should not do our part. Doctors, nurses, other medical professionals, scientists and researchers are gifts from God, commissioned to lead us through this pandemic. If we do not listen to their advice we are responsible for the outcome, not God.
And yet I still hear people say that they believe our fears are overblown. They continue to go out frequently and gather with friends at homes and on parking lots since the bars and restaurants are not open. Well, to do that is to put people in harms way, to do that is sinful. There, I have said it.
Thanks to all who are doing their best to practice physical distancing because they recognize that there are others who know more than we do. This is a slight momentary affliction but it need not be permanent. You know the motto: Stay wise and sanitize!
Let us pray: Good and gracious God, you are acquainted with all my ways and wants. Every trial, every sorrow, every craving of my heart is known to Thee. I am weak; do though strengthen me. I am poor; do Thou enrich me. I come to Thee in all my emptiness; do Thou fill me out of Thy fullness. Give me all I need, and more than I dare to ask. Give me, not according to my unworthiness, but according to my necessity, and according to the abounding riches of Thy grace.
And, O God, Thou knowest likewise all my sins. Make me to know them also, and to feel their greatness. Call to remembrance all that is past. Show me where I have been wrong. Bring to light my hidden iniquities. I acknowledge the guilt of my evil thoughts, my unholy desires, my secret transgressions. Pardon me O my Father, for Jesus’ sake. Blot out my sins in that precious blood which was shed for me on the cross. Take away this heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh — a tender believing, loving heart.
Bless, O Lord, those who are near and dear to me. Give unto them all that I have asked for myself. If any of them are at this time in sorrow, do Thou comfort them. If in doubt or difficulty, do Thou guide them. Those of them who are still afar off from Thee, do Thou bring near. And to those who know and love Thee, give more and more of Thy grace. Amen.
[portions of a prayer by Ashton Oxenden – 1808-1902]
The Rev. Ellen Meissgeier