CLC Blog

The Lord is Our Shepherd

This is Safe Space: a meditation on Psalm 23Psalm 23 Lutheran Study Bible

Maybe in times you've ventured out in the last few days, to the grocery store or to grab takeout, or to pick up your delivery from your porch, you've looked at your hands afterward, and thought, Danger, Will Robinson! Germs and possible coronavirus spreading present a threat to us. Wash your hands! It's important. 

Yes. That's true. But, the Lord is Our Shepherd.

The Lord leads us through valleys of the shadow of death. And fear. And confusion. And panic. 

David says in the psalm, "I fear no evil." Maybe David's faith is stronger than mine. Maybe David wasn't afraid, but I am. I worry about things in this COVID-19 crisis. That people I love will die or get very sick. That Alissa will have to camp out at the hospital away from our family. That people's panic will clear the stores of things we need. That we'll run out of money. There are real reasons to worry and be afraid.

But the Good Shepherd leads us. God has walked here before. It doesn't look or feel like a safe place to be. But God declares it so. And I can see God working in this. In people offering their services or goods selflessly to others: internet and cellular providers have relaxed limits. Grocery stores are thinking about those most vulnerable. Countless posts on facebook have offered errand running for those wanting to just stay put.

Add to that, engineers and scientists and others are working in overdrive to develop vaccines, antiviral drugs, make-shift ventilators, and more. God is working. Good is happening. The Shepherd is leading. Thanks be to God!

Pray with me: Holy God: camp out in our fears. Help us through them. You promise to walk with us, but convince of that. Show us. Protect the sick and vulnerable. Strengthen nurses, doctors, first responders, politicians, parents, and kids.. Give us hope. Amen.

The Church Continues with You

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Is Everything Cancelled?

One of the facebook memes I've seen pop up in recent days is a picture of someone shouting "The World is Cancelled!" I feel like we've contributed to that feeling by suspending in-person worship and meetings at the church. All we're able to do is gather online these days. It feels like the world is stopping. These are paths that we haven't traveled before.

For Lent, we continue to read Brian McLaren's We Make the Road by Walking. This week we're reading chapter 29: "Your Secret Life," based on Matthew 6:1-18.  Verses 5-13 in The Message reads:

“And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?

“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.

7-13 “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
    as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
    Yes. Yes. Yes.
 

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In other words, everything isn't cancelled. Please continue to pray. For me. For your neighbor. For you and your family. For strangers. For those whose work and paychecks have been stopped. For the homeless. For those on the medical front lines of this crisis. For our president and leaders, for wisdom and compassion. 

We chose our Lent readings months ago, and this is the one for today. I'm always amazed at how God speaks the hope we need into our brokenness, hopelessness, and confusion.

Church is not cancelled. It goes on with all of you. These are paths we have not travelled before, and that can be scary. But Jesus goes before us. Jesus walks with us. We are not alone, and there is no place we can venture that Jesus has not walked. The cross transformed even the most dangerous and scary places into holy ground. This is too. 

Posted by Andrew Evenson

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