Each day during our current Shelter-in-Place ordinance, Pastor Bob has been leading in prayer Live from our Redeemer Church Facebook page. The prayers that he shares are accompanied in the background by music of his choosing that is either inspiring to or inspired from the prayer that he has prepared each day. The prayers are a response or reflection of a confession, passage or poem that has been preserved for us from church history which ties us to the greater, universal body of Christ.
Today’s prayer for us reminds us that Christ the Good Shepherd is present when we the Church, his sheep, gather. In a time when we feel scattered and scared, we can be reminded that as long a we are in the shepherd’s care, we have no need to fear. The Good Shepherd is leading and protecting us. His presence is with us when even two or three are gathered.
Below is the text of the poem/hymn that serves as foundation and inspiration for the prayer that Pastor Bob prepared and shared with us:
Jesus, where’er thy people meet,
There they behold thy mercy-seat;
Where’er they seek thee thou art found,
And every place is hallowed ground.
For thou, within no walls confined,
Inhabitest the humble mind;
Such ever bring thee when they come,
And, going, take thee to their home.
Dear Shepherd of the chosen few,
Thy former mercies here renew;
Here to our waiting hearts proclaim
The sweetness of thy saving name.
Here may we prove the power of prayer
To strengthen faith and sweeten care,
To teach our faint desires to rise,
And bring all heaven before our eyes.
Lord, we are few, but thou art near;
Nor short thine arm, nor deaf thine ear:
O rend the heavens, come quickly down,
And make a thousand hearts thine own.
The addition text below is the prayer that Pastor Bob prepared for us as he led in prayer. We hope that this prayer will serve as a reminder of the comfort and care that comes from our Good and Faithful Shepherd.
O, Lord, You are our Head. We are Your Body. There is something beautiful and real and felt and unique when members of Your Body gather together. Give us a joyful realization that, though we may not be able to meet in our traditional ways, we may soon find ways to meet as two or three or four in very small gatherings with other members of Your Body. And everyone of those places will become hallowed ground: the patio, the parking lot, the park, the kitchen table. For no walls confine You! You are not incarcerated in church buildings while we are locked up in our houses. The holy and magnificent and infinite transcendent God inhabits humble and weak minds! Oh, what a thought!
Dear Shepherd of the Chosen Few we know that You are not befuddled. You are not in confusion. You are not perplexed. In fact, we boldly hope and ask that this dispersion of your saints out of our holy bubbles will result in a fresh inflow of new converts into the Christian Faith! So, here – here in this quarantine! – may we prove the power of prayer. May we feel our faith strengthened and our care for one another enlivened. Enflame the embers of our holy desires which, when we could gather freely all the time in the recent past, were cooling and dying down. Indeed, we feel like we are very few when we meet in our homes or in tiny groups, but You are near! Where two or three are gathered together You are there! Why should we pine for more than You! Why are we so discontent when You are with us! But, we know that this is a trial, this dispersion of Your saints to shelter-in-place, that is meant for our good. Rend the heavens! Come quickly to our aid and draw thousands of hearts back to You. Draw our hearts closer to You. You have been doing this, O Lord. A number of us are feeling the heat of renewed love intensify in our lives as we are forced to powerlessly wait on Your mercy. Oh, Lord, what a mercy it is when we do fellowship with two or three! Indeed, as Cowper so eloquently said, wherever thy people meet they behold the mercy seat. What wonder it is to wake up morning after morning in quarantine and find Your mercies renewed. We love You. We love Your Church. In the Name of Jesus, our Head, Amen.
We pray that you find this to be encouraging and hope-giving. As a church body, we are always here to help and serve if you are in our area and have needs or questions.
This Sunday we will be focusing again on the Shepherd and sheep motif in our Sunday worship. It is a beautiful picture for us and one that offers comfort and peace for our souls. One of the songs that we will be using is one that is mostly new for us. If you can join us at 10:00am (PST) we will begin with our liturgy and songs before our message given on our Redeemer Church Facebook Page. The song that we will be using is called “Shepherd” by the group CityAlight.