I would like us today to reflect on these words from Psalm 23 :4 “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me”.
Psalm 23 is a well-known and a well -used Psalm by many Christians, but now is the time we need this Psalm most.
Today, the 25th of March is the day to remember “the Annunciation of our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary”. When the angel Gabriel came Mary, to announce the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, she was afraid and was told not to fear because she has found favour with God. A beautiful version of the Ave Maria (Hail, Mary), sung by the choir of St John's College, Cambridge, can be found here.
Today, 25th of March, 2020, our world is gripped with fear of the coronavirus. We cannot even show our warmth and friendship to others by shaking their hands, neither can we stand close to them (we have to have a distance of two metres between ourselves and them), our Christian places of worship are even closed and we have to communicate with each other by one of the modern means of communications, all because of fear. Did God want this separateness or apartheid among His people? Definitely Not. As God’s people, we should believe and trust in Him even at this unprecedented and difficult time. Verse 4 of 23rd. Psalm quoted above, assures us that even though we walk in the valley of the shadow of death, we should not fear because the rod and staff of God will be there to comfort and support us. So friends, difficult as this time may seem, let us maintain our trust in God, always remembering our Lord Jesus Christ came to this world to remove fear from us.
As Christians we should be encouraged by words such as Psalm 34: 19 which says: “a righteous man may have many afflictions but God delivers him from them all” and also by 2. Corinthians 4:18 where we find the words “we are afflicted but not crushed, perplexed but not driven to despair”, these and many other related words must continue to increase our trust in God at this time. Finally, the hymn “Through all the changing scenes of life” (watch it here) should be our song as we go through this difficult times, for by taking refuge in God we will have nothing to fear, His service shall be our delight and our needs shall be His care. Amen.
Father Lord, we thank you that your amazing love poured for us at the cross and we pray that, you continue to sustain us daily. Help us to understand and experience the depth, length, height and breath of your love for us and help us place ourselves in your care at this time when our world faces the danger of the coronavirus. Lord us in our affliction, make us strong and be our healer at this troubling time. We pray dear Lord that, you make a caring, sympathetic and kind people ready to extend a hand of assistance and help to those afflicted by this disease, those drawn in isolation by this disease and those living in fear. Help us to know that you are a loving God in whom we can all come when our hearts are troubled and heavily laden. Lord let us find your favour at this time and always in Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.
Almighty God we offer you this day, the work we shall do, the people we shall meet, the pleasure and the pains, that in everything we may experience the love of Christ and be thankful. Amen.