Lord, keep us under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love.
Lord God during these unprecedented and unsettling times we pray for the church as it tries to adjust to circumstances that run counter to the existence of communal worship and fellowship. As we reflect on times past when we have been able to meet in familiar and sacred spaces with friends and acquaintances who shared our love of the Christian faith, we find ourselves yearning for those precious times again which we often took for granted. Now that those spaces and experiences are denied to us, we painfully realise what we no longer have but our faith is not just for the past and the present but also for the future.
For the present we give grateful thanks for the innovative ways in which the church has adopted to different ways of worship and fellowship and to different ways of offering care and compassion albeit at a distance. We offer thanks for the technology that has allowed Ministers and Worship Leaders across Argyll to continue to offer opportunities for worship and to reach new audiences who have found online worship reassuring and comforting during challenging times. We especially pray for those people whose dormant or non-existent faith has been re-ignited during these times and we pray that this will produce a re-awakening of their spiritual life in the longer term. We pray for all Ministers and Worship Leaders that their message remains fresh and relevant for these challenging times.
Lord, we pray too for congregational office bearers who are concerned with fabric and finance. As church buildings remain empty, we pray that they remain in a safe and good condition and we are thankful to those who keep a watchful eye on our buildings at this time. We also bring to mind congregational treasurers as they try to balance the accounts against a falling income when bills continue to need to be paid. We pray that in time, our finances will return to a healthier situation without adversely affecting the work and outreach of the local church in the future. Lord we give thanks for all the unsung heroes found in local congregations who lend support to those in need in a variety of capacities. We pray that in the course of all that they do, they are properly protected and stay safe and well.
We pray for the work of Presbytery which continues quietly in the background albeit in a different way from before. We give thanks for the diligence of our Presbytery Clerk, Stewart Shaw, who has to adapt to working in a different way, whilst still ensuring that the business of Presbytery continues. We give thanks for all of the Convenors who are ensuring that their committees continue to function online so that vital and important matters are still dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner. We pray that the meeting of the Business Committee due to convene in the next week or so will proceed smoothly as plans are determined for the continued functioning of Presbytery within ongoing policy guidelines for social distancing and safe practices.
Lord, we pray for our Presbytery staff who have been furloughed at this difficult time. We give thanks for the important work that they have been involved with in the past and we pray that circumstances will permit their quick return to continue with this in the future. We remember too our vacant congregations who without a Minister now have the additional burden of dealing with the pandemic. We give thanks for the work undertaken by Interim Moderators who are now compelled to undertake their work from a safe distance.
Lord our past and present are important but so too is our future and as we progress through these times and see glimpses of the future beginning to emerge we also need to begin to think about our future as a church and as witnesses to that glorious vision. You remind us that you are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and so we look forwards to tomorrow with a soaring hope in our heart and a determined view that once the pandemic is brought under control and normality returns we will take up our places again in those sacred spaces and determine never to take them for granted again.
We are not people of fear: we are people of courage.
We are not people who protect our own safety: we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety.
We are not people of greed: we are people of generosity.
We are your people God, giving and loving, wherever we are, whatever it costs
For as long as it takes wherever you call us.