From the Pastor's Desk:

Responding to "A Call to Prayer"

Rev. Dr. Simon Lee

On Wednesday, March 25, our C&MA President, Dave Hearn made a call out to churches to a day of prayer and fasting.  These are my notes from my own experience of fasting and praying on that day.

-------------------------------------------------------------


1. Let’s Praise and Give Thanks (Psalm 95:1-5)

 

Psalm 95:1-5

1 Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;

    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving

    and extol him with music and song.

3 For the Lord is the great God,

    the great King above all gods.

4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,

    and the mountain peaks belong to him.

5 The sea is his, for he made it,

    and his hands formed the dry land.

 

Yes, Lord. I am so glad to be at the enthronement of the King, just like the people of God was at the enthronement of King David. You are still and always is the King of Kings. May we echo the hymn,

 

“Crown Him with many crowns, the lamb upon the throne:

Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own!

Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,

And hail him as thy matchless King throughout all eternity.”

 

Yes, as the psalmist declares,

“The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;

The Lord is robed in majesty

And is armed with strength.” (Psalm 93:1a)

 

Indeed we are marching into your presence with song of praise in our hearts. Even though we cannot physically be in your sanctuary with the rest of the Church, we are all now in your presence because you are omnipresent. For you are King of Kings and creator of all things. You can conquer the Coronavirus and even use the pestilence (pandemic) to bring victory against your enemies, and bring glory to your name! Yes, we praise you because we know “the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.” Amen!

 

2. Let’s gather and worship (Psalm 95:6-7)

 

Psalm 95:6-7

6 Come, let us bow down in worship,

    let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;

7 for he is our God

    and we are the people of his pasture,

    the flock under his care.

Today, if only you would hear his voice,

 

Lord, you are not only “the Lord,” you are “the Lord our Maker.” You are the Lord of our lives and our creator.” You are not only “God” but “our God” the giver of life who has given us life and hope.

 

Just as King David declared,

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.

From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise

because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” (Psalm 8:1, 2)

 

How reassuring it is to that you Lord personally lord over my life, you have everything under your control, despite the appearance of total chaos around me due to the pandemic.

 

Lord, how comforting to know that you our God is also the great Shepherd, and we are the people of his (your) pasture, the flock under his (your) care. (Psalm 95:7)

 

Just as David the Psalmist so eloquently assures us,

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing.

He (you) makes me lie down in green pastures,

He (you) leads me beside quiet waters…

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil, for you are with me;

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:1-4)

 

Yes, I come with all my brothers and sisters and bow down before you and knee (kneel??) before our creator, not only with our physical body but also with all our heart and soul, and worship you and surrender our lives to you, with all our worries and concerns. Amen!

 

3. Let’s Pay Heed Together (Psalm 95:7b-11)

 

Psalm 95:7b-11

7Today, if only you would hear his voice,

8 “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,

    as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,

9 where your ancestors tested me;

    they tried me, though they had seen what I did.

10 For forty years I was angry with that generation;

    I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,

    and they have not known my ways.’

11 So I declared on oath in my anger,

    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”

 

O Lord, how often do we keep repeating the same mistakes in the same way that the people of God (Israelites) committed over and over again. More than the people of Israel, we have been redeemed and delivered by God through Christ’s supreme sacrifice under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Also since our decision to follow you Lord, we continue to experience your mercy, forgiveness and grace. But forgive us Lord that we have continued to “test” your patience and “murmur” (argue and quarrel). May we our present generation not have to learn our lesson the hard way, only after 40 years of wandering with fear and anxiety in the wilderness. May we live to see and enter into the Promised Land. May we truly find you, Lord, the only one that can fill the void and vacuum of our hearts.

 

I hear the words of prophet Isaiah beckoning me with these words from the Lord:

 

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord.

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow’

Though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land;

But if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.”

For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 1:18-20)

 

Lord, if the pandemic is meant to wake us all up to repent, may we do so quickly.

 

Lord, help all those who are in deep fear and anxiety to heed this call and return to God in faith and in full dependence on you, reclaiming the peace you have promised us.

 

Lord, help and strengthen those who are staying and working frantically in hospitals healing the sick, so that we can stay safe in our home.

 

Lord, help the experts and authorities to do and say the right things with understanding and wisdom from you and you alone. Indeed the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

 

Lord, help your church be the church and let the world have hope and peace beyond (through??) understanding in Christ our Saviour, our Sanctifier, our Healer and our Coming King.

Amen