One of the privileges of being on an anglican focus “writing roster” is that I receive a reminder email a week before each deadline. This allows plenty of lead time to get something written down.
However, since receiving my friendly reminder last week, we have seen Russian forces invade Ukraine and, more locally, rain records broken and severe flooding in south-east Queensland.
Such is the rate that things change, I am writing this on a most beautiful Brisbane day with a pure blue sky flecked with fluffy white clouds, after the weather event shifted to our brothers and sisters in New South Wales. Now areas of northern New South Wales are badly flooded.
It is as if we are faced with increasingly nested problems; one issue seems to wrap around the next – damage to the climate, COVID-19, and so on.
It is easy to be overwhelmed by all that is going on. One temptation is to turn our backs on all the worries, throw off our masks and carelessly drink vodka. The other temptation, almost as alluring, is to engage in endless worry and adopt the doomscrolling phone habits that so many of us feel compelled to develop.
Neither of these approaches works particularly well, and neither is commended in the Bible.
In the Book of Common Prayer Communion service (as well as in the A Prayer Book for Australia Holy Communion services) there are “The Comfortable Words” to reassure us. These first appear in the 1549 prayer book, comforting many over the centuries.
“Jesus said: ‘Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’” (Matthew 11.28)
“Jesus said: ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” (John 6.35)
“Jesus said: ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you.’” (John 13.34)
“Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any one; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11.25)
“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3.16)
These scripture verses speak of not being consumed by worry and about being active in loving and forgiving others, as we have been forgiven.
As we continue through this unusual Lent, might Jesus hold us, comfort us and empower us for our ministries.Jump to next article