Not deserted


Ethiopian blessing  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Prayer of Lament

inspired by Psalm 77: 1-20

God, we call out to you!
From the depths of our hearts, we cry,
“Lord, hear our prayer!”

We are consumed by grief.
The events of the past few days have overwhelmed us —
it’s hard to sleep,
it’s hard to eat,
it’s even hard to pray.

Where are you, God?

Deep down, we know that you love us —
we’ve experienced your mercy and your faithfulness in the past,
and it has sustained us through many difficult times.
We refuse to believe that you have deserted us,
or that you are unaware of the pain that we’re feeling.
And so we turn to you again,
longing for your presence,
looking for your comfort and peace.

Surround us with your unfailing love.
Remind us that you alone are God,
and that you hold us in the palm of your hand.
Give us courage and strength to face the days ahead,
and strengthen us in the knowledge that we do not face them alone.

In the name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord, we pray.

Amen.

 
source: re-worship.blogspot.com
 


 
From the blog
He suffered series (Holy Week 2018)

3 Prayers for Lent


 

Lent is a time to get real and take stock. Here are 3 prayers that you might find helpful in your Lenten journey this year.

 


#1

God of the desert,
as we follow Jesus into the unknown,
may we recognize the tempter when he comes;
let it be your bread we eat,
your world we serve
and you alone we worship.
 

A New Zealand Prayer Book, from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #770
 


#2

when the world is no longer a paradise
and creation shows its full power over us still
and we are brought down to size on this small planet of ours

we worship

when the memories linger of the past
and war shapes us beyond our knowing
and conflict becomes a story of life

we worship

when the way is more barren than beautiful
when the path is more a climb than a stroll
when the desert expands and the horizon stretches

we worship

we worship
because we can

we worship
because we hope

we worship
because we know our vulnerability

when things shift
and we need to hold on

we worship

it is the only strength we have for the journey

welcome to Lent

 
by Roddy Hamilton, and posted on the Church of Scotland’s Starters for Sunday website, available on re:worship.
 


#3

“Lord, hear my prayer; do not hide your face from me in the day of my trouble; my heart is scorched and withered like grass; I have become like an owl in the wilderness; I have eaten ashes for bread, and mingled my drink with my tears.” (Psalm 102:1, 2, 4, 6)

Lord,
take my small offering of self-denial this Lent,
as a sign of my great longing for you.
I hunger for your presence in my life,
and I thirst for your love.
I hunger for justice for those who are wronged and oppressed,
and I thirst for your peace.
I hunger for a glimpse of your glory,
and I thirst for your stillness in my heart.
God of giving, God of longing, God of pain,
I hunger for you.

 
by Angela Ashwin, from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #774
 

Leaving the desert behind


Wanderlust, Paris  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

It was my privilege, as newly appointed moderator of the International Presbytery, to conduct the communion service at our Presbytery meeting in Paris this past weekend.

Here is a transcript of my reflection on Joshua 1:1-9.


Only be strong and courageous

I regularly listen to a podcast called Creative Pep Talk. Here is God giving Joshua a pep talk at a crucial, threshold moment in his life and in the life of his people. And, I suppose, this is my pep talk to you and to my own soul.

Joshua got a sneak preview of the Promised Land 40 years earlier, as one of the 12 spies, and he and his friend, Caleb, returned with glowing reports, admitting it wouldn’t be easy but with God’s help nothing is impossible.

Sadly – tragically – the other 10 spies were anything but strong and courageous and they sowed a spirit of fear and unbelief.

Joshua stayed true to his convictions all through the wilderness years, faithfully serving Moses as his assistant and spending time with God, getting to know Him better.

With Moses gone and the Promised Land back on the agenda, it was time for a leader with a different personality and skill set. A warrior leader, strong and courageous, to inspire his people (this time round) to be strong and courageous too.

‘Be strong and courageous, Joshua,’ God said (v. 6). ‘Only be strong and courageous’ (v. 7). ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened or dismayed’ (v. 9). ‘As I was with Moses,’ God said, ‘I will be with you; I will not fail or forsake you’ (v. 5). ‘The Lord your God is with you wherever you go’ (v. 9).

To paraphrase: ‘Be strong and courageous, Joshua, because you are not alone. If you continue to trust me and obey my commandments, there is nothing to fear. I’ve got your back.’

Earlier in Deuteronomy 31:7-8 God used Moses to encourage Joshua with these self-same words. This time God encourages Joshua in person with wave upon wave of loving affirmation, so the words sink in.

We can all do with more courage and encouragement – especially when we are tempted to give up, worn out by the wilderness years; or when we’re on the threshold of something new and risky; or when we face wave upon wave of opposition as we venture forward to make the Promised Land our own.

Let me encourage you today.

Whatever ‘strong and courageous’ means in your context, be strong in the Lord and courageous. For ‘God did not give us a timid spirit, but a spirit of power and love and sound judgement’ (2 Timothy 1:7).

And let us encourage one another as we boldly move forward to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of us (Phil 3:12).  Amen
 


Call to worship

(inspired by Jeremiah 31:7-9)

Praise God!
For God is gathering His people together.
From near and far we come together—
the wounded and the whole, the weak and the strong—
seeking God’s presence,
God’s forgiveness,
and God’s direction for our lives.

by Christine Longhurst, re:Worship