For the month of October, Linda Crossley reflects and offers prayers through hymns.
My starting point for these reflections was a number of hymns that have special meaning and significance for me in my Christian journey. That most of these have become so over the ten years of Methodist Women in Britain’s existence says much about how big a part MWiB plays in my life.
Charles Wesley’s “Captain of Israel’s host, and Guide” (StF 459) is by far the oldest of these hymns, and the one which appears first in my story. It was sung by the MWiB Connexional Forum to close the one-day meeting at which, to my amazement, I had been elected to become President. Talk of abiding beneath God’s shadow, being protected by his love, meant so much then as I set off on a journey into the unknown.
Yet it is the words of the second verse which have meant more to me over the past 19 months, as we have lived through the covid pandemic. Like many others, when the first lockdown was imposed, I was shaken, frightened and anxious. What might happen to me and my family? What about those whose employment and earnings stopped overnight? Would the NHS be overwhelmed?
The last two lines sprang into my mind very early on “… as far from danger as from fear, while love, almighty love, is near.” They reminded me, as I sang them to myself, that whatever the answers to my questions were to be, God is there for us, guiding us, protecting us, loving us. What relief that certainty brought to all my fears and worries.
Isaiah 40:31 (NIV) tells us that “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Whatever may be on your heart today, may you have that hope in the Lord, and know his love to be very near to you.
Let us pray for anyone in need of calm and reassurance, that they too may feel his love. The rainbow has become a much-loved symbol of hope, reassurance and gratitude since the pandemic began, and here is a recent favourite.
Please click the button to download the complete set of prayers for the month.