Monday 23 March 2020

The time that is given us

This devotion was shared on Easter Europe Territory's homepage as an encouragement in the time that is given us. You can watch the live version on Youtube.

Dear officers, soldiers and friends!

I greet you in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I thank God for you and for the ministry you do in his Kingdom even in times as these.

One and a half week ago, I wrote that: “Just ‘NOW’ we are all alike” and I illustrated the blog with a picture of two young Norwegian girls who didn’t know how to get home to Norway. The article had the headline “Just now it is very chaotic!”
Both headlines are correct, now, all of us are alike, and it seems very chaotic.
Tolkien was a devoted Catholic and he tried to express his faith in his own mythological universe, you may even have read his epic trilogy “The Lord of the Rings” or seen the famous movies. Frodo and Gandalf are two central figures in the story, and there is a very brief dialogue between the two that I will like to share with you:

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf,
“and so do all who live to see such times.
But that is not for them to decide.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

The time we experience just now, is given to us. We have to decide what we do with it.

The Norwegian girls described it is as chaotic. The word chaos come from Greek, and it describes the darkness and disorder that preceded the creation of the world. God created cosmos out of chaos, and the Bible says that 
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
Genesis 1:31b
As God entered chaos to create something good, he also sent Jesus to reveal even more of his love; and as God sent Jesus, Jesus is sending us (1). Because of the virus, we may not be able to care for each other in the same way as we normally do. 

The governments have given us direction for how to act. We will follow the directives, and care both for our own health and for the health of the people whom we serve. Before I started this short devotion, you heard Mahalia Jackson sing: “He’s got the whole world in His hands” and you saw some pictures from around our territory. There are many ways of showing care even when physical contact is limited.

We can do it through social media, with a phone-call, with food-parcels brought to the door, we have even corps making facemasks for vulnerable people because the pharmacies have run out of stock. We do this, and much more, because we are created in the image of the Creator, whose creativity was triggered by chaos. Therefore, we decide that we will be creative in the chaotic time that is given us, and that is a good thing that we can learn from, just now.

However, we also humble ourselves before God and say to him “Without you we can do nothing!”(2) Therefore, prayer is a priority and we go into God’s presence many times during the day to hear the Spirit say to us “Slow down, and know that I am the Lord”(3) 
Sissel Kyrkjebø from Norway will sing this song before Magna will close the devotion with prayer. 

Magna's prayer:
Heavenly Father, we come to you in this time of uncertainty and chaos.
You know us so well.
You know our desire to have control and to be able to plan for the future.
Help us Lord, to surrender to you who always have full control.
You have given your promises of future and hope for those who trust in you.
We trust in you our Lord and Saviour. Give strength and inspiration to find new ways of serving you in our communities through tough times. Come with your Holy Spirit and power to those who are fighting the disease and going the extra mile.
Come with your complete peace to those who are ill. Come with your comfort to those who have lost dear ones.
We need you Lord!
Protect our peoples. Heal our nations. Even if we cannot be physically close to each other, we know you are close to us, and we stand together in prayer to You who hold the whole world in your hands.
Only in You my heart can be still. Almighty, everlasting, loving Father!
(1) John 20:21
(2) John 15:5b
(3) Psalms 46:10

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