Prayer and Fasting Day
A call for those in URC Mersey Synod churches (and anyone else who would like to!) to join in a 24 hour period of Prayer and Fasting on 4 July. It is a very flexible invitation to join in as people are able. Training Officer Sandra Wellington has initiated the idea and suggests 4 July as it will 'help us consider how in prayer we are not seeking independence, but a recognition of our dependence on God and our interdependence on each other and with the living planet God has given us.' See more information here.
Training Officer Sandra Wellington has written a Biblical Reflection for these difficult times...
We Christians are here for a time such as this. We know what it is to face death and look to life beyond death, as Lent and Easter remind us so poignantly. We follow a Saviour who knows what it is to put his face towards Jerusalem, towards his death, and define all he did by that, trusting his Father that death was not the end. We know what it is to live in the reality of life beyond this life. We are in a very real way called to take up our cross. To take up our cross daily and follow Christ – that is what defines us as disciples.
As many are saying, this time of Coronavirus and lockdown is an opportunity to re-examine life and put God and God’s way at the centre. Facing death teaches us to live, teaches us what is important about life. We are so to embrace the hope of eternal life that we are freed to experience this present life in all the abundance God promised. C S Lewis noted that the pain of grief is the other side of love, they are two sides of the same coin. 2 Samuel 12.23b gives us hope that our loved ones who die cannot come to us but one day we will go and be with them.
It is perhaps no coincidence that these days have spanned the Lent and Easter season and the themes that are important for us as Christians to re-orient our lives around. Jesus at his baptism was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness, alone, to learn the lesson of following God’s will and way. This was tested over and over again, especially in the garden of Gethsemane where he chose what was not chosen in the garden of Eden - to follow God’s will whatever the cost, trusting God’s way, God’s love and God’s goodness. We too, with God’s help, are called to do the same in our own testing situations. We are recognising our need of God, the fragility of life and our utter dependence on God.
From the cross Jesus cried ‘It is finished’, a new word of God’s grace. Jesus’ death, we know, achieved the opening up of our way to a renewed relationship with God in eternal life as symbolised by the tearing of the Temple curtain from top to bottom. It was always God’s initiative and God’s desire to provide us with a way back to himself.
Then in the garden tomb God raises Jesus from the dead. The resurrection is such a powerful experience that it overflowed abundantly, and other graves were split open (Matt 27. 51-53.) There is more than enough grace and power for you, me and everyone to be a part of this grace working love of God.
Crucially, this is not a passive time, Jesus confronted injustice and evil. Our world has been in crises, inquiry after inquiry, abuse after abuse, atrocity perpetrated on the most vulnerable, some who should help turning a blind eye or being part of the problem, the few risking all to speak out being cruelly silenced. This time is providing an incredible time to speak of the injustices in our society, to speak up for the victims, for those suffering the most. We can act powerfully and prophetically in these days to be part of seeking the justice God longs for.
As we approach Pentecost may we be ready to be filled anew with the Holy Spirit and used by God for a time such as this with renewed faith and our message of God’s grace, hope and love. One day the heavens will be torn open and Jesus will return. Hallelujah! We have a sure hope beyond this world that can carry us boldly through all that lies ahead to God’s glory.
Let’s take time to praise our God now. Sing your favourite hymn/song or sing a new one, shout aloud a favourite Bible passage, meditate on all Jesus has done for us, give thanks for the life that lies ahead and the hope we have of eternal life.
Please download this Word document to see:
Please download this Word document to see:
May 2020 Prayers for the Covid Crisis from around the world-wide church, collated by the Revd Canon Cynthia Dowdle OBE and Ultan Russell.