Rev. Drew Stockstill
God has got this...and you.
Friday, April 24, 2020
In the name of the Father, and of the ☩ Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
O God, make speed to save us;
O Lord, make haste to help us.
Morning Psalm- 96
1 Peter 5:6-11
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. 8 Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. 10 And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.
This week I heard several different people say something along the lines of how this has been for them the hardest week of social distancing. It may be wearing on you, and that makes sense. For some, the stay at home order has revealed our privilege, that it’s an inconvenience but not a great hardship. Others are suffering: sickness, depression, loss of income, loss of drive.
How full is your emotional and spiritual reserve? When we are feeling depleted, it may actually be harder to do the things we know will help us feel better. When we are exhausted, famished, like Jesus in the wilderness, it is then that we often face our reliable temptations. When we are feeling empty, exhausted, anxious, low, it is precisely the time to turn even more to God and to our community, and to mental health providers, for there we will find what we need to persevere.
We conclude our week with First Peter with perhaps his most helpful words for our current situation. Remember, he was writing to encourage and support a persecuted and scattered church. It sounds as if what they faced made them experience some of the emotions we may feel now. The wisdom he offers is to be honest about how we are feeling, “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,” by doing so we let God lift us up, relying not only on our own wavering strength. Control what you can: your breath, your ability to pray, eat, rest, connect, and, “Cast your anxiety on God, because he care about you.” These are old, simple, but reliable reminders, to let God be our strength when we are weak, to remember God cares about us and we can give God our anxieties – name them and pass them over to God.
Peter encourages us to be mindful of what we are facing and feeling and to do the things we know help us stay faithful and healthy, “disciple yourselves, keep alert.” Make phone calls to friends, family, and church family; remember you are part of a community that cares for you, try to join a church Zoom Bible Study, we offer them on Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings. It can be worth it just to hear the voices and feel the prayers of people who love you. Don’t withdraw, but remember we are in this together, you are not alone. As Peter says, “you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering,” and ain’t it the truth. I promise you, what you are feelings is entirely relatable to someone else, and to Jesus. And also remember, it will not be like this forever. The end is in sight and we are looking forward to a new way of being a family of faith.
Most importantly, beloved, hear Peter’s reminder of the promises of God, the God of all grace, “will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.” God will bring us through this. And may it be so.
Let us Pray:
Satisfy us with your love in the morning, Ps. 90:14
and we will live this day in joy and praise.
Eternal God, we praise you for your mighty love given in Christ’s sacrifice on the
cross, and the new life we have received by his resurrection. Especially we thank
the presence of Christ in our weakness and suffering . . .
the ministry of Word and Sacrament . . .
all who work to help and heal . . .
sacrifices made for our benefit . . .
opportunities for our generous giving. . . .
People of God, for what else do we give thanks? Add your own prayers of thanksgiving.
God of grace, let our concern for others reflect Christ’s self-giving love, not only
in our prayers, but also in our practice. Especially we pray for:
those subjected to tyranny and oppression . . .
wounded and injured people . . .
those who face death . . .
those who may be our enemies . . .
the church in North and Latin America. . . .
And for the family of Ed Sherrick, Mary, Sharon Herrold, Duana, those who suffer PTSD, Brenda and Cliff, Bob, Rochelle, Karen and Steve, Barb and Butch, Sharron Blezard, Marcia, John and Susan, Rose, Phil and Alice, Stanley Hope, Jake, John, Julie, the nurses of our Medical Outreach Clinic and…
People of God, for what else do we pray? Add your own prayers.
you call us to ventures
of which we cannot see the ending,
by paths as yet untrodden,
through perils unknown.
Give us faith to go out with courage,
not knowing where we go,
but only that your hand is leading us
and your love supporting us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God the Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit watch over us. Amen.