These meditations and reflections have been provided by Camden Country Unitng Church
A Hymn for Reflection: Abide with Me
Words by Henry F. Lyte / Music by William H. Monk © Public Domain
Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide:
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless:
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies:
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee:
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Scripture Reference ~ Luke 24:29 (NIV)
But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
We exist to foster genuine relationships with Jesus
Psalm 46:1-2 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…” (v 11)
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Who could imagine life could change so much in a short time. We will get through this time of crisis. We have a God who walks with us through difficulties and suffering.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE. GOD is ever-present. The Church as the family of God hasn’t gone anywhere. We are still here for you.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God. Psalm 42:11
In this first edition of this style of newsletter I want to reassure you that although we have closed our church premises we are still open as a church. While our church buildings provide a suitable place for us to meet they are not the true Church. We are the Church, God’s body and Jesus is our head. We will continue to operate, albeit in new ways during this period of uncertainty. We will continue to stay in touch on the phone and by dropping something off to your doorstep. We encourage you to stay in touch with others. Give someone a call this next week.
Various forms of input will be provided by the leadership and through keeping in touch with you. My ideas for inclusion include verses of encouragement, biblical reflections, some funny stuff (we need a laugh too!), hymn lyrics, tips for daily living, answers to prayer and prayer needs, updates on church life. If you have ideas for what to include please let me know.
A Short Biblical Meditation on John
As we approach Easter during this time of Lent our focus is on the life and death of our Lord Jesus. Take time to read the following verses slowly, pondering them.
John 6: 35, 37, 40
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
In response, along with Simon Peter, let us declare …
“We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:69
Biblical Reflection – Sunday 22/3/2020
While we are not meeting together in church, I wanted to provide some reflections that offer some support to each of us as we try to live out our faith as church. Robyn and others may direct your attention to songs and other worship resources. I feel it is part of my responsibility to provide some teaching resources that may also help sustain you. I welcome your feedback on these thoughts in whatever format suits you best.
I start by posing a question: How does Scripture guide a response to a public health crisis such as a pandemic? Despite descriptive terms such as ‘unprecedented’, there are, in fact, precedents for how to live faithfully through times of crisis. The Hebrew and Christian Scriptures have much to offer us and we would be wise to be informed by them. My attention was drawn to four sources of insight, four strands within the history of people of faith that had at least some parallels with current events: Romans, Luke, Nehemiah and Proverbs. This is not an exhaustive list.
• Paul’s letter to the Roman Christians speaks to a church that sits at the centre of a complex political system and reflects on the responsibilities of government and the governed.
• Luke’s Gospel is a physician’s reflection on the life of Jesus and its significance for the ongoing work of the Christian community.
• Nehemiah details the steps taken by a faithful leader to manage a public crisis for the good of the community and the glory of God.
• Proverbs records how wise people interpreted the laws of God applied to the common life, distilled into sayings that apply broadly to everyday situations.
From this point forward it is my goal to write a relatively brief reflection each week on one text, mostly from the four sources I have outlined here. I hope that this provides you with some encouragement and makes a positive contribution to your wellbeing. Sincerely, Chris
A Prayer for Today – Sunday 22/3/20
Our Lord and Heavenly Father,
As we come before you this day, we thank you for who You are – unchangeable, loving, merciful, patient. You are a listening God and seek our relationship, even more than we might seek it with You. Thanks for your persistence and grace.
We thank you for Your written Word and for the living Word who is our Lord Jesus Christ. Your Word is truth to us and is always the best source of encouragement, challenge, teaching and nurture. Help us to be diligent in relying on both Your written Word – taking time to read and understand it and relying on our Lord Jesus Christ – spending quiet time with You, talking and listening, being held and reassured.
Just as Jesus was in the boat with the disciples when the storm arose on the lake, you Lord Jesus are right by our side.
As we enter a time of being the church ungathered, help us each recognise that we still belong to one another and of the importance of staying connected for our own sakes and for others. Help us to be mindful and active in responding to the needs of others.
We pray for all those directly impacted by this virus – those who have lost family members, those with family members ill, those who have lost jobs or whose jobs are uncertain, those who must remain isolated. We pray for doctors and nurses – for your protection and strength. We pray for truck drivers, shelf stackers, checkout staff, not-for-profit workers who provide food to the homeless and people who must remain in their work places to enable the rest of the community to function. Lord, slow down the spread of this disease and help all people be mindful of protecting both themselves and others.
We pray for leaders of government and health services – for your wisdom to pervade all their decision making.
And help us not forget those who were already in a time of crisis – those who lost homes and livelihoods in the recent bushfires. May both physical and psychological help and provision continue so that their needs are met.
As we enter this time of being the church ungathered, help each of us respond to this challenge with courage and creativity, love and compassion.
In the name of Jesus our Lord we pray,
PRAYER REMINDER: Along with other Christians in Australia, set aside 19 minutes at the 19th hour (7pm) to pray.
Pray for people suffering from the virus. Pray for our leaders. Pray for health care workers. Pray for all those who are stacking our supermarket shelves and serving us at the checkout. Pray for our teachers as they go online to teach.