Daily Devotion 16 April 2020

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 ‘A Word of Hope’

11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13 When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart.

COVID-19 is no respecter of persons: royals, political leaders, film stars have all been affected. Anxiety, uncertainty and worry are widespread. But there are things we can do. We can pray: we can pray for the scientific and medical community. Ask God to give them wisdom and insight into finding a cure or vaccination; that God will give them wisdom, strength, and endurance. We can pray for political leaders to implement strategies that will flatten the COVID-19 curve and slow the rate of transmission. They need our prayers. And above all we can communicate hope as Jeremiah did in his letter sent from Jerusalem to the exiles in Babylon. We are not people of fear, we are a people of faith. A Capuchin Franciscan Brother Richard Hendrick, living in Ireland, has written a touching poem that he posted on his Facebook page. He called it ‘Lockdown’.

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death. But …
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise you can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet the sky is no longer thick with fumes but blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi people are singing to each other across the empty squares, keeping their windows open so that those who are alone may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know is busy spreading fliers with her number through the neighbourhood so that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples are preparing to welcome and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary.
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting.
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way.
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality.
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that,
Yes there is fear, but there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation, but there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying, but there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness, but there does not have to be disease of the soul.
Yes there is even death but there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic.
The birds are singing again.
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul,
And though you may not be able to touch across the empty square,


When the world is hopeless, we are to be a hope-filled people because our hope is in the One who defeated sin and death. Let us pray that we may fight this menace with faith, hope, and love. Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Howard John.
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