We sang a song in our Sunday prayer meeting and it made me realise just how much I’m struggling to fully engage in praise and worship at the moment. The words are very simple – “He is exalted the King is exalted on high, I will praise Him
He is exalted forever exalted, And I will praise His name... He is the Lord, Forever His truth shall reign, Heaven and Earth
Rejoice in His Holy name, He is exalted the King is exalted on high”.
So I will praise him whether I feel like it or not, Heaven and Earth rejoice in his name even when I don’t and his truth shall reign whether I believe it or not! I’m sure I’m not alone in finding it harder and harder to find “calm in the chaos of the corona virus crisis” and to hold onto a little bit of hope in a world where the media would have us believe everything is increasingly hopeless. I saw a post on facebook this week which encouraged me and inspired this week’s topic for encouragement.
The word CRISIS in Chinese and Japanese is formed of 2 parts – the first means danger and the 2nd translates into several meanings including opportunity and possibility; a more in-depth translation is more like “crucial point when something begins to change” so actually the “crisis point” is the moment when HOPE steps in” I LOVE that!”
The word CRISIS originates from the Greek work Krinein - to decide or Krisis – a decision.
Medieval English used the word crisis to describe “the turning point of a disease” the moment they started to recover (how appropriate in today’s pandemic crisis).
A Christian Aid survey carried out in the UK lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic found that 1 in 2 young adults and 1 in 5 adults over 55 have watched or listened to a Church service during lockdown. 1 in 5 of those say they have never gone to Church before. So as we reach a turning point in the crisis and with so many people seeking God perhaps for the firs time, I find it exciting to wonder what is God going to do next – and how can we be involved? For he certainly has a plan!!!
Jeremiah 29:11 says ‘for I know the plans I have for you’ declares the Lord ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’. What an exciting opportunity to share God’s love and compassion for us at a time when crisis and compassion often go hand in hand. Compassion literally means ‘suffering together’ it ‘gets involved when others keep their distance (social distancing rules apply – obviously!) from those who are suffering. Compassion prompts us to act, to make a decision, to become HOPE in a crisis and to be God’s light in the darkness.
Romans 15:13 “May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit” I’ll finish with a picture which has encouraged and inspired my this week. It is by a Christian artist Hannah Dunnett and entitled “God’s Compassions never Fail” (click here to visit Hannah's website).
Some mid-week encouragement from Tim with the Thought for the Week
I had so many thoughts in my head; the bride of Christ, grapes ready for harvest and struggling in despondency. I couldn`t make sense of which one to share with you until in that prayerfully sleepy transition between awake and asleep I found all 3 made perfect sense. I hope they make as much sense on paper!
Rachael brought a prophetic picture on Sunday of tents, transitory/ temporary/ flimsy/ blown about by the wind; but then God showed a picture of a tent dressed for heaven. It`s canvases were beaded and beautiful, the fabric was moving with and flowing in the wind, not fighting it. These were expeditionary tents that were getting ready for a wedding.
Anybody who has been involved in preparing a wedding knows how much effort it takes to plan and every detail has to be perfect. There is an air of excitement, anticipation and worry. What many brides and grooms don`t realise that the hard work really begins after they say I do!
Stephen and I celebrate our 21st Wedding anniversary this week; 21 years a coming of age and whilst we`re certainly not newly weds and the honeymoon period came and went quite some time ago it is a celebration of love and endurance. This year for many reasons our celebration feels like a victory of many hard fought battles (between ourselves and circumstances) but a well earned victory none the less. So it is with preparing for a wedding or to be a bride of Christ. In Matthew 25:1-18 it tells the story of the 10 virgins, 5 were wise and came prepared, the other 5 were foolish and as a result missed the wedding. It isn`t something as easy as saying I do and then just letting the marriage take care of itself. I do is a verb, a doing word, it means its necessary to takes action; preparation, planning, compromise, agreement ( and quite a bit of disagreement along the way!) resilience, endurance, love, grace and hope.