By Beth Ferguson, Lay Leader and Member to the Annual Conference.
The Lord rules!
He is robed in majesty—
the Lord is robed,
clothed with strength.
Yes, he set the world firmly in place;[a]
it won’t be shaken.
2 Your throne is set firm for a very long time.
You are eternal!
3 Lord, the floods have raised up—
the floods have raised up their voices;
the floods raise up a roar!
4 But mightier than the sound of much water,
mightier than the sea’s waves,
mighty on high is the Lord!
5 Your laws are so faithful.
Holiness decorates your house, Lord, for all time.
Psalm 93, Common English Bible
God is in charge! From the beginning of time and on into the future. God is in charge. God rules. God is and has always been–Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer. The waters of the earth are powerful; floods and hurricanes with all their power are not more powerful than God, though they may seem to be stronger in the midst of the storm.
The coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic are not stronger than God. God stands among us to carry us through and God will be with us as we begin to move out of our homes and back into the world. In the midst of suffering and death, in the midst of economic collapse, we believe that God is there. Jesus came to call us to the kingdom of God, and invited his disciples to enter the kingdom. “Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1:14-15). We are called to decide- are we kingdom people or not.
The Hebrew people complained repeatedly through their time in the wilderness and God always provided for them. So, if today is one of those days when you are miserable and can’t think of anything except your complaints, raise them up to God. Just as God provided for the Hebrew wanderers, God will provide for you and find a way to lift your spirits. We are seeing improvement in our situation now, but we don’t know when it will be brought to a new normal. Yet we have the promise of the kingdom, the promise of God’s rule in the world, which brings us comfort, peace and strength despite the reality of the troubles the world faces.
Claim the Kingdom! Praise the Lord!
A Prayer from the Extended Cabinet
By Rev. Ted Crass, President of The United Methodist Foundation of New England
Thank you for these Spring days that explode with new life.
For the flowering crab apple, cherry, dogwood, redbud, and plum
For the buds that pop with leaves that unfurl
For warblers, phoebes, grosbeaks, and indigo bunting
For the blue skies and warm sun.
I thank you that this same Spring comes in the diversity of other plants, trees, birds and signs in other lands, too.
And that the warmth of your sheltering love can be felt all over creation.
This morning, I bring to mind the faces of friends in Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceana, South America, the Middle East, and also here in my little corner of the world.
Whether welcoming the same Spring or facing the same pandemic,
They are my sisters and brothers.
Today, I pray a prayer of peace for these my siblings, for their land and for mine.
Help me never to forget
That their joy is my joy and that mine is theirs,
That their suffering is my suffering and that mine is theirs,
That we cannot fully realize our own being without each other.
O God, help me never to forget our shared oneness in Christ
As I enter this blessed Spring morning.