Day 249 | Monday, 23 November 2020
From The Church Mouse
Before I tell you about Lady Bugs, I want to tell you about the feedback I received about the issue of the Mouse dealing with the Fisher. According to a friend, who is a retired Biology teacher from Fredonia, they have two Fishers living in Canadaway Creek. Karen also sent a picture of the Fisher that was photographed walking down the street near the Reg Lenna Theater….toothy grin and all. Can you believe that? So, keep your eyes peeled, because you never know.
I wanted of write about one of God’s tiniest creations: The Red Lady Bug.
Remember these? They have up to 16 black spots. They were everywhere when I was a girl, but I haven’t seen any in a very long time. Ladybugs (also called ladybirds and lady beetles) are a type of beetle that usually have a red, oval-shaped body with black spots. The most common color of ladybugs is red, but some types of ladybugs have yellow, orange, grey, or even pink body. The majority of ladybug species are harmless and are good for your garden. Also, you don’t have to worry if you see a native species of ladybird (ladybug) in your home. They don’t bite and they don’t carry disease.
The reason we don’t see our old time Lady Bugs is that they have been replaced for the most part in our area by the orange variety, the Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis).They can have many spot patterns. They vary in color from yellow to red-orange or even black, but it always has lines that curve inward to form an “M” or “W” pattern behind the head. The ones I see here are the red-orange variety.
Which ones are better for us? Both insects are predators of aphids that feed on plant juices and damage vegetable, flower and tree fruit crops. The native ladybug only eats soft-bodied plant pests like aphids or insect eggs that are laid on leaves. This is usually the type of ladybug that is collected and sold as a natural pest control for gardeners. Asian lady beetles prefer aphids but will eat other ladybug species and will infest fall fruit like grapes, apples and raspberries. I think you can tell that I consider the Asian lady beetle an aggressive species, and that we need to help our old-fashioned native Lady Bug to return to us.
How can we attract native Ladybugs? You might have some luck if you stop raking leaves. Ladybugs like to overwinter in leaf litter, unlike the Asian lady beetle which prefers your warm house. You could also put in aphid-loving plants to attract the native species, but the Asian lady beetle will be drawn to the same plants. You can also buy ladybugs, but there could be Asian lady beetles mixed in, and most will fly away if there is no available food source.
The best plan of action is to remove the Asian lady beetles when you see them and offer the native species a safer environment. If the Asian lady beetles are inside, vacuum them up using a vacuum with a HEPA filter, or sweep them with a broom into a dustpan and dispose of them. If they are outside and you are positive they are Asian lady beetles, you can pick them off and dispose of them. Make sure you are not removing native ladybugs!
The Lady Bugs we like and miss are available for sale on-line as a safe alternative to pesticides, so don’t be surprised if the crazy Church Mouse doesn’t approach you in the spring to take up a collection for Lady Bug Restoration.
Day 248 | Sunday, 22 November 2020
The assigned Scripture readings for Christ The King Sunday are: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24; Psalm 100; Ephesians 1:15-23 and Matthew 25:31-40.
Matthew 25:31-40 Judgment of the nations
31 “Now when the Human One comes in his majesty and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his majestic throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them from each other, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right side. But the goats he will put on his left.
34 “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. 35 I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. 36 I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’
37 “Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? 38 When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’
WHERE IS JESUS? The “early” church would struggle again and again with the person and presence of Christ. And out of their wrestling would come the four Gospels and the letters that make up the rest of the New Testament.
One of the purposes of Matthew was to show the Jewish people who Jesus was. Another reason he wrote this Gospel was to teach the young struggling church exactly what it would mean to follow their Lord. So, Matthew laid his case out in Matthew 5–7. These are the teachings of Jesus and out of them would flow all he would say and do. Matthew ended those words at the end of his seventh chapter by giving the parable of the house built on rock or sand. Those that will endure, Matthew said, are those who not only hear the words of Jesus but act on them as well (Mt 7:24).
So, Matthew gives us the setting of the last parable he has Jesus speak. Jesus sat down with his disciples on the Mount of Olives. When he gave those last words, he must have stared out (down?) at the city of Jerusalem. Listen to what he told his reluctant followers there at the end. I was hungry, I was thirsty, I was a stranger, I was naked, sick, and in prison. His followers protested, of course. When did we see you hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick, or in prison? And Jesus left no doubt as to what he meant: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
In today’s Gospel, the problem is seeing. People simply fail to see Jesus when he stands right in front of them in the needs of others. In a way, they not only failed to see Jesus but also failed to see their neighbors as nothing less than the claim of Christ upon their lives.
Perhaps one of the greatest challenges of the Christian life is the challenge of seeing Jesus when he appears, as he appears, before us. We sometimes complain that God is elusive, difficult to know, silent, and evasive. Perhaps we ought to confess that the problem is on our side – we are those who tend to say, even when face-to-face with God– “Lord, when did we see you?”
Lord, take us by the hand today and show us what you would have us do. Every day we are besieged by the hurting problems of this world. We confess that often we simply tune out the troubles of the world in order to survive. We wonder how you were able to move through the madness of your world without sometimes being crushed by the too-muchness of it all. Most of us have not learned to do that. So bring us back today to our real purpose and our real task. Sometimes the needs are under our own roof, sometimes down the street – often in far away lands with pinched starving faces we will never see. Show us the least of these. Show us how to reach out even as your son, Jesus did. Amen.
Day 247| Saturday, 21 November 2020
Let my whole being bless the Lord! Let everything inside me bless his holy name!
2 Let my whole being bless the Lord and never forget all his good deeds:
3 how God forgives all your sins, heals all your sickness,
4 saves your life from the pit, crowns you with faithful love and compassion,
5 and satisfies you with plenty of good things so that your youth is made fresh like an eagle’s. 6 The Lord works righteousness; does justice for all who are oppressed.
7 God made his ways known to Moses; made his deeds known to the Israelites.
8 The Lord is compassionate and merciful, very patient, and full of faithful love.
9 God won’t always play the judge; he won’t be angry forever.
10 He doesn’t deal with us according to our sin or repay us according to our wrongdoing,
11 because as high as heaven is above the earth, that’s how large God’s faithful love is for those who honor him.
12 As far as east is from west—that’s how far God has removed our sin from us.
13 Like a parent feels compassion for their children—that’s how the Lord feels compassion for those who honor him.
14 Because God knows how we’re made, God remembers we’re just dust.
15 The days of a human life are like grass: they bloom like a wildflower;
16 but when the wind blows through it, it’s gone; even the ground where it stood doesn’t remember it.
17 But the Lord’s faithful love is from forever ago to forever from now for those who honor him.
And God’s righteousness reaches to the grandchildren
18 of those who keep his covenant and remember to keep his commands.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. 20 You divine messengers, bless the Lord! You who are mighty in power and keep his word,
who obey everything he says, bless him!
21 All you heavenly forces, bless the Lord! All you who serve him and do his will, bless him!
22 All God’s creatures, bless the Lord! Everywhere, throughout his kingdom, let my whole being
bless the Lord!
A Hymn that reflects this Psalm is “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” words by Joachim Neander, 1680
1. Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation! O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and Salvation! All ye who hear, now to his temple draw near; join me in glad adoration!
2. Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigning bears thee on Eagles wings, e’er in his keeping maintaining. God's care enfolds all, whose true good he upholds. Hast thou not known his sustaining?
3. Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee; surely his goodness and mercy here daily attend thee. Ponder anew what the Almighty can do, who with his love doth be friend thee.
4. Praise to the Lord, who doth nourish thy life and restore thee, fitting thee well for the tasks that are ever before thee. Then to thy need God as a mother doth speed, spreading the wings of grace o’er thee.
5. Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him! All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before him! Let the amen sound from his people again; gladly forever adore him.
Lord, today let our whole being bless and praise you! Amen
Day 246 | Friday, 20 November 2020
From the Church Mouse
This is the first Church Mouse since we reached 250,000 souls gone from the United States of America due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The day this number was reached, Nicole Wallace tried to put a human face on this dreadful human tragedy. In my counseling field, this technique is called using an emotional word picture. It is useful since you might forget an explanation of an event, but an emotional word picture stays with you forever.
So, we have lost 250,000 souls: gone from our Thanksgiving tables this year and from our family circles this December. These were mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters…..the list goes on and on. Let me describe this another way: If you were to read all these names, one after another, it would take you from Monday to Wednesday of the following week to complete the list. If you were to write the names of each lost soul on a PostIt note, place them one after another from the foot of the Statue of Liberty to the top of her upraised torch, you would have to repeat this process 23 times to complete the task. Many news programs complete their news segments each day with a “life well lived” obituary. If you repeated each of these obituaries, it would take you to 2027 to complete the process.
I don’t know about you, but I will remember those emotional word pictures until I draw my last breath. By the way, at this writing, that number I referenced in the beginning of this Church Mouse has grown to 250,537 deaths…..and climbing.
Day 245 | Thursday, 19 November 2020
Psalm 138 CEB
I give thanks to you with all my heart, Lord. I sing your praise before all other gods.
2 I bow toward your holy temple and thank your name for your loyal love and faithfulness because you have made your name and word greater than everything else.
3 On the day I cried out, you answered me. You encouraged me with inner strength.
4 Let all the earth’s rulers give thanks to you, Lord, when they hear what you say.
5 Let them sing about the Lord’s ways because the Lord’s glory is so great!
6 Even though the Lord is high, he can still see the lowly, but God keeps his distance from the arrogant.
7 Whenever I am in deep trouble, you make me live again; you send your power against my enemies’ wrath; you save me with your strong hand.
8 The Lord will do all this for my sake. Your faithful love lasts forever, Lord! Don’t let go of what your hands have made.
1 Thank you! Everything in me says "Thank you!" Angels listen as I sing my thanks.
2 I kneel in worship facing your holy temple and say it again: "Thank you!" Thank you for your love, thank you for your faithfulness; Most holy is your name, most holy is your Word.
3 The moment I called out, you stepped in; you made my life large with strength.
4 When they hear what you have to say, God, all earth's kings will say "Thank you."
5 They'll sing of what you've done: "How great the glory of God!"
6 And here's why: God, high above, sees far below; no matter the distance, he knows everything about us.
7 When I walk into the thick of trouble, keep me alive in the angry turmoil. With one hand strike my foes, With your other hand save me.
8 Finish what you started in me, God. Your love is eternal - don't quit on me now.
Wesley Core Term Spiritual Respiration
“Our need for God can be compared to our need for air. We must breathe air in order to live physically, and we must breathe God in order to live spiritually. John Wesley uses this image of spiritual respiration to help us to think about the closeness we ought to have with God- constant and intimate connection. When God fills our lives the way that air fills our lungs, we are refreshed, alert, and energized for God's work. The image also helps us to see what happens when we do not pay attention to that relationship. If we stop breathing God, we will lose the connection that is essential to our spiritual lives. Our relationship with God is not automatic the way our physical breathing is, so we have to concentrate on it through prayer, Bible study, worship, and other practices that help us cultivate our spiritual lives.” Wesley Study Bible, NRSV page 753.
Gracious God, we need to breathe deeply of your grace and love. There are times when we take a deep breath and fill our lungs with fresh air just to expand our chest. Then we let it all out and feel good. We need to take a deep breath of your love and grace and fill ourselves with your refreshing Spirit. We do not want to stop breathing in your love and grace. Be with those in our world who are having difficulty breathing for themselves because of COVID. Surround them with your grace and love, give them the freshness of your spirit. Lord, hear our prayers and fill us with your Spirit. Amen
Day 244 | Wednesday, 18 November 2020
The national figures for COVID continue to rise at a concerning rate. It is difficult to listen to the Doctors and Nurses from hospitals that are overwhelmed begging for help. It seems that every day brings a new record total of cases. The thought of refrigerated trucks being used as morgues causes my to heart ache. Once again, we join the chorus of when will it end? We are thrilled to hear the progress around a vaccine even though it will be months before we receive it. As of this writing we are approaching 250,000 deaths in the US.
In Chautauqua County the numbers are now: as of 11/17/2020 at 4:45PM total number of cases 1,379 with 159 active and 1,073 in isolation or quarantine. There have been 366 cases in zip 14701, 38 in Lakewood, 318 in Dunkirk and 273 in Fredonia, 16 deaths.
A Prayer for help in times of crisis:
“Oh God, we are dismayed and perplexed by crises far in near, crises beyond our control, crises beyond even our comprehension. We feel ignorant and powerless. We are consumed by self-doubt. We also wonder sometimes, guilty, whether you care at all and why you do not help. Remind us that you have never promised to make life easy for your children. Strengthen our faith in you, that we may perceive any crisis, wherever it may be occurring, as a prod to our consciences and a challenge to our compassion. Empower us to do what we can to translate compassion into action, to secure a fair deal or at least a sporting chance for everyone. And show us that, with your help, we can always do more than we think we can to overcome or at least control crises.”
“God of our life: We commend to your tender care loved ones and friends who are struggling with serious illness. Sustain them and, if possible, restore them to health. We also pray for some who are trying to escape from responsibilities through illness. May they be nerved to face reality and grow up. And we pray for others who are walking even now in the shadow of death. May they be strengthened to bear what sooner or later we all must bear. In their ultimate crisis, may they have the comfort of the companionship of him who endured the shock of birth and the agony of a cruel death to be enthroned, by you, as Lord of death and life. We turn to you, in faith, in his powerful name. Amen.”
A Prayer of Intercession
“God of love, we come in confusion, grief and even numbness. Help us to breathe deeply in your Spirit, to feel you in our hearts and minds, to know that you carry us even as we stumble.”
“When we cannot think for ourselves, guide us. When we do not know what we are feeling, care for us. When we do not know what to do next, show us the way.”
We pray for those suffering from and those dealing with the corona virus especially at this time and lift them to you. [silence] Grant us your peace. Amen.”
Psalm 46 NRSV God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. 10 "Be still, and know that I am God. I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth!" 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Day 243 | Tuesday, 17 November 2020
Psalm 28 CEB; Devotional from Our Daily Bread for 11/17
I cry out to you, Lord.
You are my rock; don’t refuse to hear me.
If you won’t talk to me,
I’ll be just like those going down to the pit.
2 Listen to my request for mercy when I cry out to you,
when I lift up my hands to your holy inner sanctuary.
3 Don’t drag me off with the wicked and those who do evil;
the type who talk nice to their friends
while evil thoughts are in their hearts!
4 Pay them back for what they’ve done!
Pay them back for their evil deeds!
Pay them back for their handiwork!
Give back to them exactly what they deserve!
5 Because they have no regard for what the Lord has done,
no regard for his handiwork,
God will tear them down and never rebuild!
6 Bless the Lord
because he has listened to my request for mercy!
7 The Lord is my strength and my shield.
My heart trusts him.
I was helped, my heart rejoiced,
and I thank him with my song.
8 The Lord is his people’s strength;
he is a fortress of protection for his anointed one.
9 Save your people, God!
Bless your possession!
Shepherd them and carry them for all time!
“If Only We Could . . . By: Anne Cetas The Lord is the strength of his people. Psalm 28:8”
“The weeping Alaskan cedar tree whipped from side to side in the storm’s strong winds. Regie loved the tree that had not only provided shelter from the summer sun but also given her family privacy. Now the fierce storm was tearing the roots from the ground. Quickly, Regie, with her fifteen-year-old son in tow, ran to try to rescue the tree. With her hands and ninety-pound frame firmly planted against it, she and her son tried to keep it from falling over. But they weren’t strong enough.”
“God was King David’s strength when he called out to Him in another kind of storm (Psalm 28:8). Some commentators say he wrote this during a time when his world was falling apart. His own son rose in rebellion against him and tried to take the throne (2 Samuel 15). He felt so vulnerable and weak that he feared God might remain silent, and he would die (Psalm 28:1). “Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help,” he said to God (v. 2). God gave David strength to go on, even though his relationship with his son never mended.”
“How we long to prevent bad things from happening! If only we could. But in our weakness, God promises we can always call to Him to be our Rock (vv. 1–2). When we don’t have the strength, He’s our shepherd and will carry us forever (vv. 8–9).”
“When have you felt vulnerable and unable to fix a situation? How did you see God come through for you?”
“It seems there’s always something for which I need extra strength from You, O God. Help me to remember that without You I can do nothing.”
Today: those who need God’s strength.
Day 242 | Monday, 16 November 2020
FROM The Church Mouse
As we hunker down for what looks like it will be our most challenging part of this COVID 19 journey, I thought a bit of humor might help us in our condition. Here goes:
Old Folks Favorite Things - A Humorous Parody
Music: “My Favorite Things,” Richard Rodgers
These words: The Church Mouse
Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in strings,
these are a few of our favorite things.
Cadillacs and cataracts and hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings.
These are a few of our favorite things.
When the pipes leak, when the bones creak,
when the knees go bad,
we simply remember our favorite things,
and then we don’t feel so bad.
Hot tea and crumpets, and corn pads for bunions,
no spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heat pads and hot meals friends bring.
These are a few of our favorite things.
Back pains, confused brains, and no fear of sinning,
soft bones and fractures and hair that is thinning,
We won't even mention our short, shrunken frames,
praying to God we remember our names.
When the joints ache, when the hips break,
when the eyes grow dim, dear Lord…
Then we will remember the great life we’ve had,
and then we won't feel so bad.
WOW! Ain’t that the truth? Ida also gave me a poem along these lines. She wanted it added to The Church Mouse. I’m always glad to include anything that you would like to share with our community here at the Woodlands.
Pamper the body, prod the soul.
Accept limitations, but play a role.
Withdraw from the front, but stay in the fight.
Beware of reminiscing, except to a child.
To forgetting proper names,,..be reconciled.
Despise not solitude, let no one condone.
Cultivate interests, enjoyed alone.
Refrain from loquacity, be crisp and concise.
And regard self-pity as a cardinal vise.
-Olive Higgins Prouty
Day 241 | Sunday, 15 November 2020
The assigned Scripture readings for this the 24th Sunday after Pentecost are: Judges 4:1-7; Psalm 123 or 76; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 and Matthew 25:14-30.
Matthew 25:14-30 from The Message
14 "It's also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. 15 To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. 16 Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master's investment. 17 The second did the same. 18 But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master's money. 19 "After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them.
20 The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment.
21 His master commended him: 'Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.' 22 "The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master's investment. 23 His master commended him: 'Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.' 24 "The servant given one thousand said, 'Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error.
25 I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.' 26 "The master was furious. 'That's a terrible way to live! It's criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? 27 The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest. 28 29 "'Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this "play-it-safe" who won't go out on a limb. 30 Throw him out into utter darkness.'”
This is one of the hard ones, one of what are called the hard sayings of Jesus. I don’t know about you, but during my darker moments anyway, when I hear this parable, or the variation on it in Luke, I tend at first to identify with the slave who receives the one talent — at least, up to the point where he buries the talent in the ground. No, I am definitely not some Five-Talent player, or even a Two-Talent Trendsetter. I cannot with any honesty say that my investments have doubled — not through any shrewdness on my part, anyway.
No, I am not confessing that I have “buried my talent” — or my half-talent or quarter-talent, whatever the case may be. I have used it, made my half-baked attempts at investing it. But if the “Master” who gave me the talent were to return tomorrow and demand an accounting, I would probably have to say something like, “Well ... Here’s your talent — half-talent, quarter-talent, whatever. Yes, I used it, I ‘invested’ it. But it certainly didn’t double in value on my watch. I don’t know that it did any meaningful, measurable good at all. But here it is! I’ve still got it — a little dented, a bit scraped — you know, used looking. But I’ve still got it. You want it back? Maybe you want to give it to the go-getter with the five talents — the one who started out with a church with a membership consisting of a homeless family, a retired postal worker and a three-legged cocker spaniel, and under that pastor’s wise, principled, radical, passionate and excellent tutelage, it has grown so that now worship attendance averages half the population west of the Mississippi River.”
Yes, in those darker moments I do wonder, too, what the Master might have to say to that!
What are we doing with what we’ve got? Is there more and better use that we can make of what we do have? How can we use our talents with an eye toward making our one, two, our two, four, our five, 10? How can we put what we’ve got to use, making the kingdom that we hope for and expect come alive, in some small way, in front of the eyes of all who pass by?
Lord, thank you for the talents you have given us to use wisely. Hear our prayer. Amen
Day 240| Saturday, 14 November 2020
I am guessing that we are all getting weary of dealing with the Corona Virus which has plagued us since March. Right now, our country is witnessing dramatic increases in at least 43 states. As of November 12th, we have had 10.6 million cases with 243,000 deaths. There were 1,172 deaths on the 12th. Also, on the 12th there were 163,402 cases just on that day. The average for cases over the past 14 days is 134,078. The change in cases over the past 14 days is 72%. Those hospitalized equals 67,096 as reported. 130 secret service members have tested positive or are quarantined.
As I was listening to a local radio station yesterday morning, I was surprised to hear the broadcaster say that there were 60 new cases in the county over the past two days. As of 5 PM on November 12th, the cases in the county were at 1,277 with 161 active and 749 in isolation or quarantine. Deaths remain at 15. There have been 341 cases in the Jamestown Zip code, 36 in Lakewood, 309 in Dunkirk and 253 in Fredonia.
As we have made adjustments in our lifestyles since March, we have more to make to stay safe. This will be a different Thanksgiving Holiday for many of us. For the first time in our married life, Judy and I will not be with any family members for the big Turkey day.
This has been an unprecedented year with dealing with COVID-19. Along with dealing with this pandemic, we are also dealing with unprecedented events in our democracy with the unrest in Washington DC.
Over the last 239 days, my intent has been to offer a glimmer of hope to all of us as we journey through this time. With that in mind, here is one of the versions of Psalm 23 offered many months ago.
Psalm 23 – New International Version (NIV)
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will 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 your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Gracious God, here we are again seeking your assurance that all will be okay in our world while we are dealing with so much uncertainty. One thing we believe for sure is that You are our God, and you weep for your children who are suffering. Hope is a small word, yet it has power. Hope is the light you are bringing into this darkness. Lord be with those who need you most during this time. Comfort those who mourn. Strengthen the health care workers who are stretched beyond their limits. Hear our prayers amen.