Devotional From Rev. Dr. Jody Moore
The spread of the COVID-19 virus has required us to be more creative in the ways that we reach out to one another. One of the ways that I hope we can connect to each other at Outer Banks Presbyterian Church is through this weekly devotional and announcements. Each week that we need to gather for worship on-line through our streamed worship services, I hope to send a devotional message to you. Our faith keeps us grounded and reminds us of who we are and that we belong to God. Reading this devotional is one way we can care for our spiritual lives during this unsettling time.
With an uncertain future in light of social distancing and closures due to coronavirus, we are left with many questions. One of the sources of stress is how open ended the timeline for addressing this problem will be. Current recommendations from the federal and state government are keeping us separated until at least April 30
, but when that date arrives, will things be any better? We aren’t sure yet. It is hard to be patient with an uncertain timeline. In recent days, I have seen news reports about staggering numbers of potential infections and deaths. There are many concerns today, but we also worry about where we are heading in the near future.
For some perspective about where we are going, I wanted us to reflect on one of my favorite prayers of all time, which comes from Thomas Merton, an American theologian and author. This prayer is honest about how life’s circumstances often bring us to surprising places, yet we trust in God to lead us.
Prayer: By Thomas Merton from
Thoughts in Solitude
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that, if I do this,
You will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
Merton’s prayer is true and helpful for any situation we are facing: we often do not really know where our lives are heading or where our journeys will end. Merton acknowledges there are times that we think we are following God’s will when we actually may be mistaken. So what are we supposed to do? The first step is a genuine longing to please God. If we are guided by the sincere desire to do what is loving, what is compassionate, and what is honorable to the Lord, then we will be on the right path. We will all make missteps along the way, but remembering that we belong to God gives us direction and purpose. What brings us comfort as we face these uncertainties and worries is to remember that Jesus is always with us and never leaves us to face our troubles alone.
Scripture Passage: Psalm 23:1, 4-6:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me. Your rod and your staff—they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
This beloved psalm tells us that the Lord is our Good Shepherd, longing to protect and guide us even when we walk through the darkest valley. Let us remember to turn toward God to find peace, hope, and comfort as we move into Holy Week, which begins with Palm Sunday on April 5
Grace and Peace,