By Beth Ferguson, Lay Leader and Member to the Annual Conference.
12 The nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom God has chosen as his possession,
is truly happy!
13 The Lord looks down from heaven;
he sees every human being.
14 From his dwelling place God observes
all who live on earth.
15 God is the one who made all their hearts,
the one who knows everything they do.
16 Kings aren’t saved by the strength of their armies;
warriors aren’t rescued by how much power they have.
17 A warhorse is a bad bet for victory;
it can’t save despite its great strength.
18 But look here: the Lord’s eyes watch all who honor him,
all who wait for his faithful love,
19 to deliver their lives[a] from death
and keep them alive during a famine.
20 We put our hope in the Lord.
He is our help and our shield.
21 Our heart rejoices in God
because we trust his holy name.
22 Lord, let your faithful love surround us
because we wait for you.
Psalm 33:12-22, Common English Bible
This Psalm reminds us that God is Lord of all. God has given each of us gifts to use, but we did not choose what gift we would receive. God has provided for each of us according to God’s plan. Our strength, our intelligence, our musical abilities, our sports prowess are all gifts from God. Yes, we are called to use the gifts we have received, and we are to develop and improve them, but we have received our gifts from above.
Our strength comes from God, we are not in charge. All the power of world leaders comes from God. Our armies and navies have power from God. As we recognize this and look to God for strength, inspiration and creativity, we receive more bountiful gifts. We are fearful in this time of the pandemic, but God loves us and is watching over us. If we can put our trust in God, he will help us with fear and loneliness. If our leaders look to God for guidance, we will get through this.
When we think we are in charge, we ignore God and are filled with pride at our own accomplishments. We believe that because we can determine the human genome, or the genome of the Coronavirus, that science is in charge, and we forget that God created all, God gave us the intelligence to understand it scientifically.
As religion and belief in God become less important in our modern society, we lose something. We don’t see humility as a strength. Jesus’s power was most evident when the world saw him as weak, as he hung on the cross. Leave your pride behind, and open yourself to God’s power and love.
God’s steadfast love is there for us each and every day. We find our joy in trusting in God’s steadfast love.
A Prayer from the Extended Cabinet
By Rev. Nancy C. Townley (selected by Willaim V. Burnside II, Conference Treasurer)
Lord God, you know us too well. You know that we would be like the disciples following the crucifixion and even the resurrection. We would rather hide and mutter and weep, than proclaim the power of your love.
The world is a difficult place. We fear so much. We want people to like us, and so we hold back on our proclamation of our faith. We don’t want to offend anyone. But your love and presence are not offensive. They are empowering and healing.
Bring your holy fire upon us this day to ignite a spark of joy in our hearts and our voices. Bring the power of your rushing wind through our spirits that we may be turned in new directions for service and witness.
We pray this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.