The Hope of a Saviour
The past year, the entire world has experienced difficulty like never before. We have lived in constant stress and uncertainty. As Christians, we have experienced a different kind of tragedy and difficulty. Whether we attended church for the fellowship, the message, or getting out of the house once per week, it has been taken away. Many churches in Canada have returned to a version of in person services but my church, for instance, has chosen to stick with zoom services to protect our elderly population. It becomes disheartening and, believe it or not, I miss sitting on the hard church benches. No matter how difficult, we are still able to worship, even if only through zoom, and I have learned many lessons through this period of adjustment. For that
I am thankful.
Every Sunday my church has the prayers of the people. One person reads a prayer with different intentions, and we all reply “Lord, hear our prayer” or a similar response after the intention is read. I used to really dislike that part of the service. We would all kneel on old benches, and I would try to bow my head and close my eyes, but usually my nose would start running, so I ended up trying not to sniffle, but really I needed to blow my nose. It is also a very lengthy prayer, so I would usually get distracted and end up feeling guilty. Now, I miss being able to kneel and pray as a church community. We still do the prayer on zoom, but it’s just not the same. There is something about the reverence of kneeling in a church, and hearing the synchronized responses. By missing the fulfillment I got from the prayers at church, I was pushed to grow in my personal prayer life. I used to pray by repeating the prayer I have memorized since I was a child, not really connecting with God. Over lockdown I read a devotional on prayer. The devotional taught me the PRAY acronym, which I have used for my nightly prayers every day since: Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield. Yielding is probably the most difficult step for me. I sit in silence waiting for God to speak to me. Sometimes there is nothing, sometimes I feel urged to read my bible. It all depends on the day. My church still unites us in prayer every Sunday through the prayers of the people, but now I have learned how to pray on my own as well.
Before the lock down my cousin told me how much fun he was having volunteering at the local soup kitchen. I was so intrigued, but the coronavirus came before I had the chance to reach out to my local soup kitchen. Soon after schools were shut down and I was over the moon.
Volunteering isn’t necessarily the first thing that came to mind, but I did look at the website eventually. To my dismay, the soup kitchen was not accepting new volunteers over the pandemic to avoid spread of the virus. I must admit I was disappointed, so I asked God how I could start being of service in my community. I soon learned that service isn’t always a fancy gesture; it can be as simple as holding the door for someone. I made that my new resolution. Every day at school I do an act of service. Whether I say hello to someone in the hallway or hold a door, these small acts people often smile. Over the pandemic, sometimes that’s all people need.
I am sure we have all seen many different reactions to the virus, the lockdowns, and our government, but I believe as Christians we are called to have a different reaction. Jesus demonstrated love for us by dying on the cross. Thanks to his courageous sacrifice, and his grace, we can be saved. I am able to be kind and loving over the pandemic because whenever I need it I am able to talk to the God in control of it all. He is always listening. When I come upon people who are very angry, or maybe lacking in grace and love, I simply remember that they don’t have the same hope I have: the hope of a saviour.