From the Newsletter

May 2020

 

GREETINGS IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD

In this time of daily repeating what you did yesterday we are slowly moving forward. Hopefully that forward includes the desire that our Governor will scale back the lockdown and we will be able to have church on May 17th. We can easily observe the 6 feet apart rule and still have the feeling of community that comes with corporate worship. Let us pray that this comes about.

 

During this period of observing morning scripture reading and morning prayer there has been plenty of time to reflect on the current situation. One of my favorite scriptures came to mind and I think it is worth sharing a bit of thought about.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you.”

 

In both the Old Testament and the New the command to rejoice is frequent. The Israelites were told to rejoice and to remember the Passover as their great salvation experience. The Virgin Mary and Elizabeth were both able to rejoice with the revelation the they were part of God’s new plan for mankind’s salvation through His son.

 

In this season of the Sundays after Easter we are filled with the urge to rejoice. Unfortunately this year we have had that urge curtailed by our inability to sing the glorious hymns we so love and to shout Alleluia. So can we rejoice with our alleluias on pause for a while? Paul says to rejoice always. He and Silas sang hymns when they were thrown into prison. In fact, the whole life of Paul is one big praise song as he never gave up with his praise of what Jesus Christ had done for us. Keep that in mind and rejoice always!

 

Now we come to praying without ceasing. The Greek Word for prayer has several meanings. First, prayer can be asking God to supply a particular need for a particular reason to meet a new and current concern. Second a prayer can be offered in supplication for others or for oneself. Every Sunday the Eucharist is a Prayer of Thanksgiving. And then the word can be used to just cover all of them combined.

 

For prayer to work there has to be a relationship between the person praying and God so the person praying can believe that God is listening and he will take to heart the person’s need. That doesn’t mean that God will always answer the prayers we ask. However, the more closely our prayers are aligned with the will of God the more likely we will receive what we ask.

 

Ancient and contemporary books have been written on the methods available to “pray without

ceasing.” We have no problem of stopping to pray when necessary but the demand to be constantly praying is not practicable. Life places many demands on us and we cannot spend every moment in prayer. But we can live every moment in the confidence that we are connected to God’s love. We can live in thanksgiving for all the blessings that we have received, great and small, and we can offer

prayers for people we know and love. Now is a perfect time to pray for our church and its members, our state and officials and our national government and its leadership. The need for prayer is endless so we can do as Paul says and pray constantly.

 

Today it is a test to give thanks for everything. Not having church for weeks has been a test I have never endured before. Being shut out of restaurants and libraries is a test of God’s lesson plan that I don’t much care for. Having normal routines like getting my hair cut is beyond belief. I don’t think my hair has been this long since the 70’s. Maybe some day when we can look back and reflect on these days we will see it from a different perspective and have a clearer understanding of the trial we are enduring.

 

“For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you.”

 

The “this” in this verse incorporates all three commands: “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks.” These commands are not the product of human wisdom, but come from God. It is God’s will that these Christians obey these commands. It is part of God’s plan for their lives.

 

It is part of God’s plan for our lives too even in this time of testing.

 

In Christ,

Pastor Fred