HOLDING ON TOGETHER

Holy Saturday

‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

The gap between Friday and Sunday – between falling down and rising up; between the darkness and the dawn; between the cross and the empty tomb – can feel like forever. How can we endure it? The same way that the disciples would have done: together. Let us pray that we can do this as a community of believers today.

God of Holy Saturday,
God who is there in the waiting,

Help us to hold on through the night.
Help us to see that we are not alone:
That we are part of a global community,
And that in this unity there is strength.

We pray that times of uncertainty
Will be times in which we can build bridges
And cross divides,
Knowing that only by doing this can we move forward.

Thank you God that you are with us always.
Help us to be with each other, always.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Lent day 5 with Tearfund

Today, please use this devotion as your 7pm prayer focus. Many have received this devotion from Tearfund and will be praying with you.

A new light arrives

‘Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.’ (Psalm 30:5)

Today’s devotion isn’t quite going to be what was planned. The content for this series was written before recent events shook the world.

I think we’ve all been shocked and disturbed and upset by what’s happening in Ukraine right now. It’s certainly affected me. My great grandparents were refugees from Ukraine. They fled persecution in the early part of the 20th century. And now a million more refugees are running for their lives. And of course violent conflict is a plague in so many places around the world. It can be hard to know how to respond.

The plan for these Sunday devotions was to share a poem. To have it as a kind of Sabbath Day – where we can just spend time with the words and soak in God’s presence.

The poem I was planning on sharing today is about hope. And I wondered whether this was still appropriate. But then I thought, what could be more appropriate? The situation in Ukraine seems kind of hopeless. So many situations, globally and in our own lives, can seem hopeless.

But we hope anyway. Because hope is a choice. One that we always have. And it is a choice today that is rooted in truth – the truth that hate can’t win. Love wins. Hope wins. So, we’re going to share this short poem about hope. And we’ll keep sharing these devotions as we planned to – because we choose to, because the truths of the gospel never change, and because it’s in the darkness that those truths shine brightest.

Read the poem slowly. Ask God to speak to you through it. And let’s declare hope over the world.

A new light arrives

Buried in the night,
anxious thoughts crowded darkly
around me.

The last thing I expect
is a miracle;
the last thing I anticipate is God
riding the dawn.

But then,
like the only answer we ever need,
a new light arrives,
splashing grace-paint
on the worn-out canvas of my heart,

and all of a sudden
hope is running along the tops of the trees
wild-eyed
and rampant.

Gideon Heugh
Gideon writes for Tearfund and is a poet and environmentalist.
Poem is © Gideon Heugh, taken from Rumours of Light.

Lent day 4 with Tearfund

The real you

‘Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.’ (John 1:12)

Jesus came to bring life, and life to the full (John 10:10). Poverty and abuse can stop us from stepping into this. Read this prayer out loud and let the truth soak into you: you are created and you are loved. And, as we journey together this Lent, let us ask God how we can seek freedom for others too.

God of creation,
of the parted seas and the miracle birth,
the empty tomb and risen King,
help me to see myself as part of your story.

Wash away any shame or fear that is holding me back,
declare over me again that I am a new creation in you, Lord.

Show me the areas of my life where I need to prune,
so I can walk in greater freedom with you.

And when life is difficult:
grant me patience, like you did Joseph;
grant me boldness, like you did Rahab;
grant me courage, like you did Ruth;
grant me wisdom, like you did David.

God of my past and my future,
let me never forget that you are working in the present,
help me to see myself in your greater plan.
Show me how I can best serve you with all of me,
as a beloved child of God,
because – yes – that is who I am.
Amen.

Rachael Adams
Rachael is the Editor of Tearfund’s weekly prayer email.

Lent 3 with Tearfund

In the image

‘‘So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.’ (Genesis 1:27 New Living Translation)

This is a verse many of us know so well that sometimes we forget to stop in awe at its power, beauty and meaning. We are made in the image of the very same God who flung stars into space, brings meaning from chaos and calls destiny into humanity.

Pause, and breathe it in. The image of our Lord is woven deeply into the fabric of humanity.

Wrapped up in this short verse is the calling to our identity as image-bearers of the King. And the calling to actively look for the image of our King in others.

This is a world-changing truth. How different things would be if we saw past the headlines into the image of God? The climate crisis, modern-day slavery, fast fashion… I dare to believe that if we, humanity, truly lived out this verse – poverty would be over. Injustice would have no place in our world.

So today, let’s proactively look and find the image of God in ourselves and others.

Creator God, we pause in awe. Thank you that we are woven in your image. Help us Lord to see this in ourselves, and in others, every day. Might we live differently in light of this truth. Amen.

Dot Tyler
Dot leads Tearfund’s work with young people across the UK.