Bible Reading: Isaiah 51:1-3
“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
When I called him he was only one man, and I blessed him and made him many.
The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”
On reading our passage from Isaiah for this weeks reflection, I sensed God speaking these words over our communities, encouraging us to keep doing what we feel called by God to do; provide and facilitate in the communities in which we live and have access to.
In a meeting just last week a colleague reflected that very early on in this pandemic, a number of us had identified that what we were about to embark on should be likened to a marathon. Something would potentially sap all of our energy, challenge what we’ve been used to doing and the means by which we deliver it and also stretch our resources, physically and emotionally too. How true that has proven to be!
But the question that arose during that time of reflection was why, then, had we not taken that on board and were we still running this race set before us. To quote the Apostle Paul; like a sprint!
I, like many of you I am sure, had not taken any time off since the beginning of the year and hit a point in May where I knew I needed a break. I really cannot encourage enough to do the same. Our reading from Isaiah this week also speaks of the God we serve being the one through whom things will be lovingly and with compassion restored.
Yes, some of that restoration by Gods grace takes place through us. But what good will we be if we’re exhausted and burnt out?
It is the same for many in our communities, as our churches begin – if they are – to initially re-open for private prayer and slowly and safely resume services, however different they may be. We will be able to provide a place of refuge for those who are worn out to come and be refreshed by Holy Spirit. Put back together piece by piece after what has been an extremely challenging and difficult season in the lives of those around us and whom we seek to serve.
Heavenly Father, would you the source of all wisdom, knowledge and discernment,the one from whom, and through whom all blessings flow,give us the courage to face the coming days, knowing that we have the resourcesof heaven on our side. If we would but ask, seek and know.Would you equip us to see our communities as you see themand give us a Spirit of compassion as we seek to be your hands and feet, your eyes andears, your mouth piece. As we go about our daily tasks and seek to be a source of hope,life and peace to those we meet. Amen
How could your church community consider…
- Survey your community to discover what the less obvious needs may be?
- Look to provide a safe place for people to come, when it is safe and accordance with the guidance to share their struggles and concerns. One possibility may be to look at the Renew Wellbeing training website being offered at the moment.
- Send cards to some of those people in your community who you know may be struggling at this time to encourage them and let them know they are being prayed for.
Revd Suzan Williams Rector of St John the Baptist, Whittington and St Michaels, West Felton with St Chads, Haughton. Head of Rural Ministry for New Wine