Sermon, The Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 24, 2020
Readings: Acts 1:6–14; Psalm 68:1–10; 1 Peter 4:12, 5:6-11; John 17:1-11
Prayer for Change
We are not ready yet to physically gather as the body of Christ and break bread in our church buildings.
Those with authority to re-open our society for larger gatherings have reservations on how wide the doors can swing. The world is still anxious on what might happen following the re-opening and the related freedom for humanity as we discern what was lost and the stampede as we get out of our confines.
I notice that traffic has grown on the city streets as well as the countryside and public places are filling up more than the past two weeks. Some people are very vigilant about physical distancing and sanitation while others are relaxed a bit. Whatever the case may be, we are seeking to find a new norm since what was before COVID-19 will never be again.
Meanwhile, I want to thank all who continue to do Church in different ways by reaching out to all who are in need. We appreciate your calls, distanced visits, delivery of groceries to our seniors and other ways you support the work of our parishes of St. Clements, Mapleton and St. George, Wakefield.
In one of my sermons during the early stage of this pandemic, I said that while things are changing, God is not because God is pure love, and God gains nothing by changing Godself. However, God has the ability to cause change in us, the world, circumstances and situations we find ourselves in. It is our duty to pray for this change and I believe that our prayers reach God.I trust that whatever happens will be a means for us to serve the purpose of God.
While prayer is a conversation with God, James McPolin talks of prayer as a relationship, a discovery of a centre in life, a longing for intimacy, for communion with God. He continues to say that, with prayer, there comes a heightened awareness of being loved by God.
McPolin concerns himself with Jesus’ prayer found in the gospel we read today. Jesus is about to physically separate from his disciples to ascend to heaven. He stressed the bond through love between Jesus and the Father. Jesus prayed because he was aware of being loved. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”. (Matthew 3:17)
Jesus prayed that God glorifies him so that Jesus may glorify God. Also, Jesus prayed for the disciples who were about to experience a new norm when Jesus ascended to heaven. Jesus knew that the road ahead of the disciples was very rough and hard times lay ahead of them. They needed protection, provision and safety.
People I have spoken to need change from the kind of life they are living during this period as a result of the lockdown, social and physical distancing. While all these might be of great value, we have with us a situation which can be changed through faith and prayer. A prayer that God may do what God does best which is to grant us only what we need in times of trouble. I have trust that our God can deliver.
Let us pray that whatever becomes of the world, nation, communities, Church and our families brings glory to God. Let us pray that the world is healed of the pandemic, and that our love for God, and for each other grows into greater unity as children of God. Let us pray that this period changes our lives to turn to God the source of all being and the giver of life now and in the days to come. Amen