New Hope, New Beginnings
But first, there was Good Friday.
Jesus Christ had hung on the cross six hours, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., when He said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
This is the week during which some of us have reread scriptures and relived Jesus' path—riding on a donkey colt, the crucifixion, the torn curtain from top to bottom at the Temple, three hours of darkness, and the resurrection.
God’s great love shown for mankind.
His love lives on.
Presently, the world is making adjustments for dealing with Covid-19 pandemic, and churches are, too. Many churches are praying and figuring new ways to keep their congregations safe and healthy and to continue to provide spiritual sustenance.
Alistair Begg, a popular pastor in Ohio, minces no words. He tells us that prayer is the way, and it is not meditation, a breathing exercise, or a form of spiritual yoga.
In his interview about his book Pray Big: Learn to Pray Like an Apostle, Begg explains that it is important to
remember who we are praying to
and who we are as we approach God.
We are dependent people, approaching the Father by the Son through the Spirit.
When I’m lost on prayer, but I want to pray, I tell God my heart. I am clear that I am dependent on Him.
Two weeks ago, a friend of mine from California was touched by a prayer spoken by Scott Clark, her interim pastor. She sent a copy of it to me. I then asked her pastor if I might share it on my blog.
It reads like free verse poetry, like the Psalms. Here is the first part of the prayer. See if you can hear our dependent part. (I invite you to pray along with Scott Clark.)
Loving God, from the moment you first spoke all creation into being, you have been inviting us into life with you, walking with us, listening to us, loving us, giving us the gift of each other, sitting with us in the depths, saving and healing us from everything that does us harm.
Again and again, you invite us into conversation – to love and to live with you – and, to your holy invitation, we say Yes.
We bring you our prayers – our joys, and our deep concerns and hurt. We pray for healing in the midst of this epidemic, we pray for nurses and doctors and health officials – keep them safe and strong – we pray for wisdom and courage, to slow and to end the progress of this disease – AND, we pray for your healing power to be at work in the midst of us, for all the ways that you are at work, beyond our knowing and beyond our imagining.
We pray for our own apprehension and our fear. These are scary times. AND, we pray for everyone around the world who feels the same, we pray for comfort for all who mourn, peace for every anxious heart, and love that transcends the isolation of our sheltering; we pray all that, for everyone around the whole wide world.
We pray for your help, AND help us to figure out what we can do, to reach out to those who are lonely, to feed the hungry, to come together – even in these times of isolation – to dismantle systems of oppression, to mend the world we have harmed, in times of climate emergency, to continue in your work of healing.
We pray what we know, AND we pray into the mystery, living into all we don’t know, trusting in you….
And I say, in Jesus’ name, Amen and Amen.
How grateful I am that Jesus came, died, and gave us access to God the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.
Good Friday had to be. It’s why Jesus came to earth, but now it’s Easter, and Jesus is alive! His resurrection gives us new hope, new beginnings.
A nest of bird eggs found by Jimmy Durmon. Photographed by Pat Durmon, April 2020.