Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.” “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me” (John 16:29-32).
Alone. As I write this, I am sure that each of you now knows something about being alone in a way new to you. Being alone is a profound human experience, because we were not made to be solitary creatures. We were made for companionship, fellowship, comradery. And yet, here we are—alone, forced into isolation by an unseen foe.
Jesus knows what it is to be alone. He was left alone because a foe threatened his companions and they ran. To think he left the indescribably close interrelationship of the Trinity to be deserted on earth! And yet, in that profound human condition, he shows us how to not be alone, by finding life-giving relationship with his Father.
I know, I know, we want to rush to verse 33. But let that wait. For now, take a moment and acknowledge your aloneness. Let it remind you of how profoundly human this is, in a moment with people around the globe are also being separated. Let it also remind you of those who are even more alone than you are.
Some of you have told me how you are passing the time. Some are ordering in “Swiss Chicken” and sharing it with one or two friends. Some of you are taking food to people who are all alone. Some of you are offering rides to people who have no cars, to get out and about. And some of you are profoundly alone.
Jesus experienced the fact of the Father’s presence with him through prayer. And that is how we experience it, too! Where there is prayer, God is there.
So I have something for you to do. Get together (in person if that’s appropriate, or by phone, or by video call) for a time of prayer. Take a set amount of time (15, 30, 60 minutes) and pray. Yes, you could do it alone—but instead, include someone who you know would benefit, and pray with them.
Our song for today, “Beautiful Saviour,” was suggested by Pearl. It begins, “All my days I will sing this song of gladness” (even in the days we are living today) because Jesus IS beautiful, Jesus IS our Saviour, Jesus IS our wonderful Counsellor, and Jesus DOES reign over all! You can find many versions on YouTube.
Pearl also shared this poem, simply called “Pandemic” (click to read).
The Council met last night. Thanks for your prayers, we had a very good meeting, even though there was a lot to plow through. You will receive a report in this week’s bulletin. Let me just say now, that all programs (including those of our tenant churches and those by outside agencies) are shut down. Justine and I will continue to keep office hours so the building does not go dark and we can respond to neighbours. And we are making plans for how we continue to exist as a church which has been scattered, each to their own home.
The Council needs your input—each and every one of you—so we can stay in touch with you most effectively. We have some technology at hand to make use of. But we are not surewhat each of you has (or uses). Can every one of you take 3 minutes right now and answer the questions at this link: https://tinyurl.com/tob7xov .
- Let’s pray for our students; many are wondering and worried about what will happen to school years which are being truncated
- Let’s pray for travelers to come back home safely and virus-free
- Let’s pray for those who rely on food banks, many of which are now closing
NEEDS: A person on this distribution list has surgery coming soon and so is in urgent need of an electric can opener; if you have one to give, please let me know.
In closing, let’s pray together as our Lord taught us to pray,
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Go with this blessing:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.