Holding On to Your Faith Through a Global Pandemic - How to Do it Gallantly!
Reflections for Morning Prayer 5th Sunday of Lent, Third Sunday We’ve been Apart Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic By the Rev. Susan Bek Sunday, March 29, 2020 St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Ventura
Though we’re convinced that it’s absolutely necessary, it’s difficult to be separate from one another right now. The isolation is challenging, the news is terrifying and life as we know it has changed drastically such a short time!
The most important thing I have to say to you right now is this – Hold on to Your Faith. So much is uncertain right now. No one knows how all this will play out. No one knows when things will get back to normal, but don’t give up hope, hold on. I’d like to share with you three points and a prayer that I think will help. Consider them anchors you can hold onto in the storm, places of peace in which you can rest, wisdom and truth you can use to shine a light in the darkness while we all wait for the sun to come out again.
Recognize your blessings. We still have so much for which to be thankful. The apostle Paul wrote to his disciples in Philippi and said, “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” Today and every day, remember the good things and think on them. This will help you connect to the peace which passes all understanding.
Open your eyes to the needs of others. Help in all the ways you can. Sometimes that involves taking action, sometimes it requires inaction. For me it’s often easier to stay busy, I find it harder to sit and wait. Right now, sitting and waiting is a sacred task. It is a holy calling. Do not minimize the importance of the sacrifice you are making. May ours be the hands that will help, the hearts that will pray, the voices that will sing, shout, speak out and praise the Lord.
May ours be the fingers that write letters, make phone calls, type texts and share posts filled with love, encouragement and faith. May ours be the feet that stand ready to run and help a neighbor or to stay home, propped up on the coffee table depending on the needs of the moment. May ours be the backsides willing to sit and wait until it’s all clear.
Remember that God is always with us. In today’s prayers and scripture, we heard again and again of God’s mighty presence. These are some of the highlights that stood out to me:
May ours be the hands that will help, the hearts that will pray, the voices that will sing, shout, speak out and praise the Lord. May ours be the fingers that write letters, make phone calls, type texts and share posts filled with love, encouragement and faith. May ours be the feet that stand ready to run and help a neighbor or to stay home, propped up on the coffee table depending on the needs of the moment. May ours be the backsides willing to sit and wait until it’s all clear.
When the Lord opens our mouths, we need to be ready to proclaim his praise.
We are the sheep; he is the Shepherd.
God listens when we pray and redeems all our sins.
Even when we stand in the middle of a valley filled with bones, God is with us.
Death has no power that can compare to the power of God in Christ.
For God can cover those bones with flesh and give them life again.
Jesus can call Lazarus back out from the tomb.
Therefore, hope is never lost.
Hold on to that hope and hold on to your faith.
How? by recognizing your blessings, opening your eyes to the needs of others, and remembering that God is always with us. In God we are one family. In Christ we are called to serve the family of God. So, let us set our minds on the Spirit, offering ourselves to the sacred work that needs to be done in the coming week.
Finally, I’d like to share a prayer with you. It is a prayer for In the Morning found on page 461 in the Book of Common Prayer. I’ve always loved this one, and I think it is especially appropriate today. In this prayer, you will hear the word “gallantly.” It means to do something, “in a brave or heroic manner,” and I think that’s a perfect word-choice for what we are all being called to face in the coming week.
This is another day, O Lord.
I know not what it will bring forth,
but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be.
If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely.
If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly.
If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently.
And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly.*
Make these words more than words,
and give me the Spirit of Jesus.
*In a brave or heroic manner
You are loved by God and by this wonderful community of faith at St. Paul’s. God bless you throughout the coming week and if you need anything, please contact us.
Don’t forget – we’re all counting on you. We’re all counting on each other. Go be brave and heroic even if that means that all you do is stay and home and wait.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.