As the Psalmist invites us, we enter your courts with thanksgiving. However, if we are honest, we also enter your courts exhausted and with a limp. This season has been hard. This fourth wave and its restrictions (including people’s reactions to them) will be the most challenging yet. Although the previous waves were difficult, many of us felt like we got a glimpse of momentum over the last couple of weeks only to have it eclipsed by recent (needed) public health measures. Although we may understand the importance of these measures as we partner with other sectors of society (loving our neighbours in the process), it doesn’t make it easy.
As shepherds and leaders of your flock, many of our people are tired, frustrated, anxious, and stressed. We have healthcare workers who are exhausted, business owners who are devastated, parents who are stressed, and others who are extremely angry at the government and their decisions (some believing they didn’t do enough early enough and others believing that they are doing too much). We need your wisdom, strength, and resolve to lead our hurting, diverse, and, at times, divided and disgruntled congregations.
Therefore, as we lead through the fourth wave of Covid, may you grant us…
Persistence like Noah, who built an ark while enduring ridicule and abandonment of others.
Faith like Abraham, who despite not seeing any sign of hope, trusted in you.
Resolve like Moses, who led your people out of slavery only to have them grumble and complain the entire way.
Ears like Elijah, who heard your voice not in the earthquake and wind, but in the still small voice.
Heart like David, who, although deeply flawed and riddled with errors of judgement, sought after you. May we have the humility to regularly ask you to search our hearts and test our motives so we never confuse leadership resolve with prideful arrogance.
Peace like Silas, who was able to sleep in a prison cell while facing a very uncertain future.
Trust like Paul, who led some of the most dysfunctional churches in history and did it with eyes firmly fixed on you. May we have an abiding trust in you as we lead our churches in a way that decouples our identity from their “success.”
Jesus, you are the head of the Church and so we rest in your leadership, goodness, and grace. If the last twenty months have taught us anything, you are good and you will see us through! Therefore, lead us into the future with persistence, faith, resolve, listening ears, soft hearts, supernatural peace, and abiding trust.
You have called us, you are faithful, and you will do it (1 Thess. 5:24)!
In your glorious name, Amen!