Sunday 3 May 2020

How to summarize up this week? Exhaustion. I’m sick of being in lockdown. I want to have the days when Kea and I are alone, and I spend time in the word in prayer early before going to work, then hit the pavement or gym after work, before music practice, reading and blogging. I want to have my old routine back. I want to interact with workmates.

And more than this, I want to go to church. I want to be in a room with believers worshiping God. Yes, I have found some new songs today. Yes, the church has worship broadcast to its electronic congregation — which is now the entire church. But being in a corporate group of hundreds praising God is much better than my croaking over a guitar or viola.

 

Almighty God,
who showest to them that be in error
the light of thy truth,
to the intent that they may return
into the way of righteousness;
Grant unto all them that are admitted
into the fellowship of Christ’s Religion,
that they may eschew those things
that are contrary to their profession,
and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same;
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Church of Ireland

English Translation for those, like me, who have no Russian.

This song of praise flies like a bird through the sky
My life is like a river, my heart flows, and my soul sings for you
This song of praise is like a creek in the spring
I breathe in the aroma of love

The ocean of God’s love
There is no start or finish to it
The ocean of God’s love
The gracious love of our Father

This is not a good time. It is terrible time. But we need to devote ourselves to each other. We need to ignore the lousy shepherds. We need to seek Christ. And he will add to us those who are returning to him.

Acts 2:42-47

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

ESV

1 Peter 2:19-25

19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

ESV

John 10:1-10

10 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

ESV

This is from the youtube page for one of the songs in today’s post. I’m quoting it because it applies to this time.

Dear World,

We write to you from the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. We are at a loss in so many ways, unsure of what to do, unsure of what to say, and unsure of what the future holds.

But there is a prayer, however, which can be prayed when our own voices fail us. It is a prayer that our Lord Jesus prayed as his own world seemed to be falling apart – an innocent man praying alone in the garden, abandoned by his friends, betrayed by those he trusted, and awaiting his death.

Even at his lowest point, Jesus was able to pray, ‘Father not my will, but yours be done’, because he knew that, in the chaos, his Father loved him and that his Father’s will was always good. If there was any plan that Jesus trusted in that dreadful hour, it was his Father’s.

We offer this simple song, simply played, in the midst of this present trial, so that you might be able to pray these words along with our Saviour. There is a God who is still ruling on the throne, and He is our good and loving Father. If there is anything in which you can put your trust at this uncertain time, let it be the will of your loving Father.

Church, in the chaos – in bedrooms, living rooms, hospital rooms, and virtual rooms – let us lift our voices in prayer and sing, ‘Father, not my will but Yours be done!’

Yours in love and solidarity,

CityAlight

May we all in this time do the will of God. May we know the his voice, for he is the true shepherd, who will not lead us astray.