Thought for the week – 29.03.20

Friends, I’d like to begin our thought for the week with a Bible reading from the gospel according to Mark chapter 14 and from verse 32. There we read:

They went to Gethsemane and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated.

And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.”

And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.

He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.” Amen.

Mark 14:32

You may think I’m jumping the gun a bit, using this passage of scripture as my subject because Easter is coming. Of course, I am well aware of this. They say, “strike while the iron is hot,” and I think this passage speaks right into what we are all facing today.

Of all the gospel accounts of Jesus in a garden, I’ve always found the Marcan account the most moving and meaningful because it portrays something of Jesus that we don’t often see- a vulnerability, a humanness, the capacity to feel what all of us are able to feel.

Now some might find what Jesus experienced disconcerting. After all, it was Jesus, but rather than finding it disconcerting or understanding it as weakness, a chink in Jesus’ armour, I find it has the opposite effect on me. It draws me closer to Jesus, it helps me relate to him better, it moves my heart and mind and soul, knowing, with hindsight, what he was about to endure.

I would rather follow a Jesus who understood in every way what it’s like to be human than a Jesus who was some kind of super man, who, in no way, shape or form could feel pain or distress or anxiety.

I know there are some, perhaps many, who might disagree with me, who feel they need a super man in this often chaotic and unpredictable world, one who can go ahead of them and flatten every foe. But Jesus didn’t do that. Jesus did something else. Distressed, agitated, and deeply grieved, nonetheless, he put his life and his trust in the hands of his Father- “not my will but yours be done.”

Jesus, then, shows us his way, and it’s not about power or control or overthrowing people and things by force, it is all about trust, about believing in God’s presence and believing in God’s love, that God’s purposes will always be used for good and not for ill.

Jesus didn’t ask to endure what he was about to go through. I don’t think he wanted to be in that garden nor did he particularly relish the idea of suffering and dying, but he put his trust in God, that God would vindicate him; that, in the words of theologian, Marcus Borg, “where the Roman authorities said, “No!” to Jesus, God would say,“Yes!”

Now, none of us have asked for covid 19 to wreak havoc across the world or perhaps endanger our lives but through it all we have one we can put our trust in, we have one who is with us every step of the way, who understands our distress, anxiety, and agitation, if these are the things we are feeling, and He is God Almighty, and He will never let us go.

Prayer Thought:

Loving God, in these uncertain times help us to put our trust in you, knowing, like Jesus, that you will never leave us; that no matter what happens in this world, nothing can ever separate us from your love. Amen.

Love Image. Credit: Unsplash.

Prayers for the Week (Commencing Sunday 29th March 2020)

This week I am doing 10 days prayers so that the Thought and Prayers will go on the internet mid-week.  However we will still try and deliver hard copies in time for Sunday so that everyone has a thought or message from Peter on Sunday.

Loving God,

In these uncertain times help us to put our trust in you, knowing, like Jesus, that you will never leave us; that no matter what happens in this world, nothing can ever separate us from your love.  Amen.

Sunday 29 March

It is odd not meeting with others. Give thanks for the ways we can keep in touch and feel united with our brothers and sisters. I understand that BBC Scotland may be broadcasting a TV service at 1215pm. Pray specifically for others in the congregation who may find this time difficult.

Telephone. Credit: Unsplash.

Monday 30 March

Pray for wisdom for the leaders. They may have many very difficult decisions where the option is between the bad and the very bad.  There are no good options. Give them the ability to think clearly and act wisely. Help them to feel with the folk suffering.

Person thinking outside
Deep in thought. Credit: Unsplash.

Tuesday 31 March

Give thanks for the way in which many people have risen to the challenge and good neighbourliness has been reinvented. Give thanks for all those who have volunteered to help the NHS. Pray that they may be kept safe through this time.

Letterboxes. Credit: Unsplash.

Wednesday 1 April

Pray particularly for those with concerns as to their livelihoods. Pray for those who were summarily dismissed. Pray for the self-employed – many of them very small businesses – being the sole worker and the difficulties and worries they are facing.  Remember those with employees and the difficult decisions facing them.

Small businesses. Credit: Unsplash.

Thursday 2 April

Give thanks that Leandra is getting better and enjoying Peter’s support and company. Remember others suffering isolation. Remember the Weir family and in particular Lesley-Anne at this time.

Remember those in need. Credit: Unsplash.

Friday 3 April

Let us remember those on the streets and without homes. They are particularly vulnerable to the virus. Give thanks that Bethany Christian Trust is operating fully. Pray that their staff and other care workers will remain fit and able to service their clients.

Remember those on the streets. Credit: Unsplash.

Saturday 4 April

Remember those who have had to change their plans. Weddings have had to be cancelled. Richie & Jo have had to change their plans. Remember them.

Weddings. Credit: Unsplash.

Sunday 5 April: Palm Sunday

As we think how quickly things have changed, Jesus rode into Jerusalem to the cheers of the crowds. Imagine you were there. Think how things changed in 5 days. How would you have felt? The disciples did not understand but they were clinging to what they knew of Jesus. Let us do the same. Lord Jesus be with us through these times.

Credit: Unsplash.

Monday 6 April

Jesus went into Jerusalem. He saw what was going on in the temple. Pray that as a church we may learn to worship in spirit and in truth.  Help us all to learn from the current situation what it means. Help us to continue to worship in that way while we are apart.

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

Tuesday 7 April

There was a lot that Jesus saw in Jerusalem which grieved him.  Pray also for the situation there today. In East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the Palestinian territory, houses and villages are being demolished. Pray for those facing hardship.

Destroyed homes. Credit: Unsplash.

Wednesday 8 April

Jesus looked at Jerusalem and saw all the problems. He knew that even worse times were ahead with the siege almost 30 years later. Yet he told his disciples that there was hope and that he would return. As we face hard times let us be confident that he will return. Come Lord Jesus, come. Pray that we will be ready.

Prayer. Credit: Unsplash.

Sermon Sunday 29 March 2020

Welcome to everyone from near and far tuning in to the website to hear Peter’s message at 10.30am this Sunday morning. It was great to know that so many were able to listen last week and continue to join together, wherever we are.

Faithful One, so unchanging.
Ageless One, You’re my rock of peace.
Lord of all, I depend on You.
I call out to You, again and again,
I call out to You, again and again.

You are my Rock in times of trouble,
You lift me up when I fall down,
All through the storm
Your love is the anchor
My hope is in You alone.

Faithful One, words and music by Brian Doerksen.

Contact information for anyone needing to get in touch during the period of the church building closure is available here – click for contact information.