By Beth Ferguson, Lay Leader and Member to the Annual Conference.
I take refuge in you, Lord.
Please never let me be put to shame.
Rescue me by your righteousness!
2 Listen closely to me!
Deliver me quickly;
be a rock that protects me;
be a strong fortress that saves me!
3 You are definitely my rock and my fortress.
Guide me and lead me for the sake of your good name!
4 Get me out of this net that’s been set for me
because you are my protective fortress.
5 I entrust my spirit into your hands;
you, Lord, God of faithfulness—
you have saved me.
14 But me? I trust you, Lord!
I affirm, “You are my God.”
15 My future is in your hands.
Don’t hand me over to my enemies,
to all who are out to get me!
16 Shine your face on your servant;
save me by your faithful love!
Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16, Common English Bible
In Psalm 31, David takes refuge in God. He depends on God for protection. He depends on God for guidance. He knows God hears him when he asks for help. He trusts that God will help him out of difficult situations. Jesus quoted from Psalm 31:5 on the cross- “Into thy hands I commit my spirit.” Even in death we can trust in God.
Trust. Do we truly trust in the Lord? Do we give God our fear and anxiety? Do we trust our future to God?
In this time of pandemic COVID-19, we have reason to fear: we fear getting the virus and becoming very ill; we fear dying; we fear being an asymptomatic carrier and unknowingly spreading the virus to others; we fear getting medical attention; we fear that our retirement savings are being depleted in the stock market; we fear our businesses will go bankrupt; we fear we won’t be able to get what we need. We are expected to step up: to teach our children; to work from home; to go out to work and risk getting the virus; to stay home and be isolated; to change the way we do business.
David reminds us that God is with us, God loves us, and God wants to take away our fears and anxiety. God wants to lead us through this pandemic so that we can move forward. We can say “I trust you, Lord! You are my God. My future is in your hands.” We can ask God to “shine your face on your servant; save me by your faithful love!” If we truly mean it, our anxiety and depression can be relieved by the grace of God.
A Prayer from the Extended Cabinet
By Rev. Jill Colley Robinson, Vermont District Superintendent
You say to us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
I guess our hearts are troubled, or you would not need to say it.
You say to us, “Believe …”
I guess we struggle to believe, or you would not need to remind us.
Tell us again that you go to prepare a place for us.
Tell us again.
Tell us you will take us to yourself —
that you will be with us no matter what,
that we get to be with you,
that your way will be made plain before our faces.
Love us the way you loved Thomas
who so often gave voice to everyone’s doubts.
Love us the way you loved Philip
who needed to be shown again and again.
Dwell in us so that we can be about your greater work
of finding your way,
of speaking your truth,
of honoring your gift of life,
even now …
We ask all of this the way you teach us to ask — in your name,
believing that you will make it so.