By Beth Ferguson, Lay Leader and Member to the Annual Conference.
Psalm 71 is a prayer for lifelong protection and help. The Psalmist acknowledges that in our lives we will experience adversity, but we can trust that God is with us throughout our difficulties. God is with us at our birth before we can even know God. John Wesley calls this prevenient grace and it is available to each of us whether we find God in childhood through our parents or later in life through others.
God is also with us as our refuge, God lives within us when we accept Him as our savior. We can depend on God in every phase of our lives even to our old age, when we seem weak and frail, God gives us strength to go on and is with us when we leave this life to our heavenly home.
In this time the enemy is Coronavirus, but the enemy is also loneliness and fear. We can’t physically touch one another, but God can hold us close without fear. We may be lacking in personal protective equipment, but God is our refuge and strength and our protector.
In this Holy Week, we think of Jesus time on the earth, his instructions to strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all things will be given to you. (Matt 6:33). In Jesus time of trial he went to the garden to pray, he asked that the cup might be taken from him, but God’s will be done. His persecution was extreme, yet he depended on God’s strength throughout his ordeal.
We can trust in God in these times and we will praise the Lord for the comfort , protection and love God brings.
A Prayer from the Extended Cabinet
By Rev. Erica Robinson-Johnson, Director of Connectional Ministries/Assistant to the Bishop
It is Tuesday of the holiest of weeks. And yet our thoughts are far from holy.
We are grateful for the psalmists who give us permission to cry out to you from the depths of our souls, with honesty, no holding back.
Take #71 … she speaks my truth so well this day: from belief, to fear, to hope … and back again
In you, O Lord, I take refuge
Listen to me
You are my hope, my fortress
Do not cast me off in old age
Do not forsake me when my
strength is spent
Do not leave me
I will not give up hope … I will praise you even more.
Thank you God, for psalmists, poets, preachers, prophets, and for your Spirit which intercedes for us when we just don’t have our own words to express the prayers in our hearts.
In you we take refuge … our strength and redeemer.
May it be so.