Dearest Hope Family,
My family and I are eager to be back in worship with you all this Sunday after a nice respite for some vacation time away in the mountains. I feel like my head, heart, and body finally caught up with each other after many months of discombobulation . A thousand thanks to the pastoral staff, the elders, the deacons, and our wonderful staff for shouldering the responsibility and vulnerability of leading the church so that we could steal away for some rest! What a blessing to have such a gifted, thoughtful team at Hope!
As the conversation and focus for many in our midst turns to the advent of the school year, I have been reminded of a short correspondence between Scottish pastor Andrew Bonar and his daughter Isabela who was away school in Edinburgh. She apparently was facing intense, unrelenting anxiety. Her father identified with her struggle and gave her some timely encouragement:
“Few things are so trying as anxiety from day to day, and that is the reason why Christ the Sin-bearer is also the Burden-bearer. He is, thus, a full Savior!”
Bonar wrote that sentence in 1867. How well it resonates in 2020!
We have a “full Savior” who bears our sins – every single one of them – so that we bear them no more. He bears our burdens – every single one of them – so that we never bear them alone!
In the midst of the low-watt anxiety that is the age of COVID and in the specific, ramping anxiety of the approaching school year, I point you to this full Savior, Sin-bearer and Burden-bearer. We can pour out hearts before him. We can entrust our deep frustration, our numbness, our hatreds, our indifference to Him.
David Taylor, an Anglican minister in Texas, had composed some helpful prayers for parents with school-aged children who sense the mounting anxiety of another round of virtual learning and some prayers for educators who face similar and unique anxieties with a new school year approaching. I commend both for you to pray for yourself or others in our church family:
On Behalf of Educators
Oh Lord, you who have called and equipped the teachers in our community, we pray for them today. Watch over them, provide for them, guide them, and sustain them. May you be their sun and shield, so that they might sense your care in these uncertain times. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
On Behalf of Parents and Children
Oh Lord, you who promise to guide us through the wilderness and to protect us through the storm, we ask that you would make us wise where we cannot clearly see the way forward, make us brave where we feel afraid, make us strong in the face of our weakness, and make possible what to us seems impossible, so that we might joyfully entrust ourselves and our children into your tender care in these trying and troubling times. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Peace of Christ,