Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the LORD’s people.
Ephesians 6 v 18
Over the recent weeks many of our politicians and leaders have said, quite rightly “We’re in this together”. We’re in it together because there isn’t a single person either in our country or our world that isn’t affected by the spread of the Corona virus and the restrictions it’s brought to every day life. However, we’re also in this together because staying at home brings all of us the challenge of how to stay connected to our families, our friends and wider society.
Yesterday was a significantly sad day for many organisations who had to close their doors and stop offering even the reduced services they had been until the Prime Minister’s announcement about the lock down requirements. The Church of Scotland, which has never closed it’s doors, even in times of war and disaster, grappled yesterday with what it means to not have the buildings open for prayer or even for funerals at any time and particularly at such a time as this. At such a time as this when people are needing comfort and reassurance, peace and strength. However, the message, which you can find on the Church of Scotland website, is that the buildings are closed but the church is open. We may not be able to gather but we are to-gether. We are sticking together and reaching out to each other as much as we can from our homes.
Of course, we know the mechanisms for connecting: phone-calls, emails, video conferencing etc but what is the content of those communications? Well, we’re sharing thoughts, as we all hopefully did yesterday in our Thought for the Day for our NHS staff. We’re also sharing support – signposting people to where they can go for advice or help and giving generously where we can to initiatives that ask for our time, talents and money. We’re also turning, more and more, to that traditional practice of this season of Lent – prayer.
Prayer is a thought turned to God, to the Divine, to a power greater than ourselves that helps us feel connected to something other than ourselves. If you pray, you may think you are doing it alone at home but actually you are not only connecting to the Divine, you are connecting to a network of people, to the church which is very much alive and active. In the words of the hymn “The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple, the church is not a resting place, the church is a people.
I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together.“
Prayer for today from the Church of Scotland “Together we Pray” resource 2018:
We pray for our Church:
many parts yet one body
under the authority of Jesus
From north to south, east to
help us build your Kingdom,
to see lives transformed.
May our Presbyteries be places
of inspiration, support and
Give to them a vision
for what church could be.
Help them to see the possibilities
to have the courage to reach out
When faced with difficult
grant them wisdom and grace.
May our councils and
seek to support congregations
and presbyteries. With dedicated
staff and enthusiastic volunteers
may they be a force for good
throughout our land.
May the Church of Scotland be
where the gifts of many are
in common purpose,
where all are allowed to flourish
and be valued,
we are built into a dwelling place
for the Holy Spirit,
as together we grow in love.