As we journey through these uncertain times, each day Sean will to seek post a thought or reflection, a Bible verse or a prayer.
Thursday 7th May
‘Deliver us from evil’
by Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church
Tomorrow is the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. Due to Covid19 the commemoration of such a historic event will now take place indoors on the TV or online via the internet. No local events or services of thanksgiving. There is much that can be said here. VE Day was not just about the end of fighting in Europe. It marked the end of one of the most depraved and evil ideologies in history, which included extreme antisemitism on an industrial scale. There is no doubt that National Socialism was thoroughly and utterly evil and had to be stopped.
Several years ago, I was speaking with an elder in the church where I was minister. He talked about what it was like to grow up during the war. For some children it was an exciting but dangerous time, such as hiding away during an air raid or having to run for their lives as being machine gunned by a German bomber on their way home from school. But this elder, told me something that I found intriguing. He spoke not just of the rationing etc., but a continual awareness of a strong and pervading sense of spiritual evil.
Of course such experiences are very subjective. Whilst genuine spiritual experiences are always ‘given’ and are part of authentic religion, they are more about confirming what we believe rather than creating new doctrines. For example, the apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:12 writes: ‘For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.’
Ephesians 6:10 - 20
The Armour of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Very occasionally the veil is pulled back and we are given insight to the spiritual reality that surrounds us. Whilst there is a need for caution and balance, it also reminds us that Christian faith is a struggle against evil in all its forms, irrespective of how it is manifested.
Think about the different forms of evil that exist within our community & nation.
How should we respond to these different forms of evil? Is it a case of polite indifference, or are we called to resist through social action and prayer?
Give thanks to God that in Jesus Christ that evil is not just quenched but overthrown and defeated and we await the day of the coming of God’s Kingdom when love shall reign supreme.
Continue to remember all who are affected by Covid19, pray that God would heal our land, and renew His church Prayers
in a time of coronavirus
Love never fails
Even in the darkest moments, love gives hope.
Love compels us to fight against coronavirus alongside our sisters and brothers living in poverty.
Love compels us to stand together in prayer with our neighbours near and far.
Love compels us to give and act as one.
A prayer for times of isolation
‘For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come… will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8:38-39)
God of heaven and earth,
in these times of isolation,
apart from loved ones
distant from friends
away from neighbours
thank you that there is nothing
in all of creation,
not even coronavirus,
that is able to separate us from your love.
And may your love that never fails
continue to be shared
through the kindness of strangers
looking out for each other,
for neighbours near and far
all recognising our shared vulnerability,
each of us grateful for every breath,
and willing everyone to know the gift
of a full and healthy life.
Keep us all in your care.
A prayer for medical workers everywhere
Restoring and healing God,
thank you for medical workers everywhere,
embodying sacrificial love in these challenging times
putting the welfare of others before their own
staying away from their family and loved ones
comforting the concerned and bereaved
reassuring the anxious and vulnerable
working to heal and restore people who are ill.
Be their guide, strength, wisdom and hope.
We pray for those in authority to do right by them
for proper protective equipment to be provided
and for their dedication to be met with much gratitude
and appreciation when they return home, exhausted.
And we pray for medical workers around the world,
where resources and protective equipment
are always in short supply, not only now but always.
May these extraordinary times
lead to deep and necessary changes in how our world works,
resulting in a genuine effort to address the profound injustice
of life expectancy being determined by geography,
to awaken us all to the reality of how connected we all are
and to work together to create the community and world
we all want to be part of.
So help us, God,
A prayer for a global pandemic
‘Love…bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never ends.’
(1 Corinthians 13:7-8)
strengthen our innermost being
with your love that bears all things
even the weight of this global pandemic
even the long haul of watching for symptoms
of patiently waiting for this to pass
watching and waiting,
keeping our gaze fixed on you,
and looking out for our neighbours
near and far.
Instil in our shaken souls
the belief and hope that all things
are possible with your creative love
for strangers to become friends
for science to source solutions
for resources to be generously shared
so everyone, everywhere, may have what they need
for your perfect love that knows no borders
may cast out any fear and selfishness that divides.
May your love that never ends
be our comfort, strength and guide
for the wellbeing of all and
the glory of God.
A prayer for the church
May your love that never fails
strengthen the weak
encourage the fearful
calm the anxious
heal the sick
through your church –
your washed hands
and feet on earth –
distant but still present
virtual but still connected
apart but still helping.
God in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
The prayer that Jesus taught us
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. You will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.
May the Father’s hand
keep you from stumbling,
the footprints of Jesus
give you confidence to follow,
and the fire of the Spirit
keep you warm and safe
in your walk with God this day.
Be thou my vision