We may not be able to visit schools or churches for a while, but more than ever, we want to reach out to our Zeph Community, our ZephKidz and ZephFriends – and that includes you!
When life changes, we need to find new rhythms, new routines, new touchstones. So, from tomorrow, we’re starting a virtual Zeph Daily Prayer/Community Gathering.
At 10am, every weekday (Monday to Friday), one of our Team will be on our Facebook page for half an hour of prayer and community. We might post images or Bible verses, songs, or anything really, but we’ll let you know we’re there. You can join us in the comments, posting prayers or requests or just letting us know you’re there.
If you can’t join us, know we are there, praying. At the end of the gathering, we’ll publish the day’s content as a separate blog post here, so you can work through it in your own time whenever you get the chance.
John, Julie, Jenny, Julia and Yvonne
Read on for Day One’s reflections…
Welcome to the first online daily prayer and community gathering.
It’s Julie here (the one with the glasses, not the long blonde hair…).
If this were a collective worship or assembly in a school, I’d start by saying the magic words…
…and you’d reply, in beautiful unison, “Good morning Julie!” (You’d likely as not forget my name and some of you would call me ‘Julia’ or ‘Mrs …’ or look at me in weird silence.)
If you want to let me know you’re here, post a greeting below!
In a couple of minutes, I’ll be telling you the story today’s Bible verse comes from…
When everything feels a bit unsettling, it’s good to focus on that which doesn’t change – have a listen to some ancient words…
The verse in the image above is from the first book of the Bible and, to be honest, things weren’t going well for the family involved…
There were four of them: two parents (Isaac and Rebekah) and their twin sons (Esau and Isaac).
Esau was the oldest (and Isaac’s favourite), Jacob the youngest (and Rebekah’s favourite). When Isaac was growing old, Rebekah knew he would have to bless one of of his sons to hand on the family name and all that went with it – their inheritance. Esau, as the eldest, should have been the one to receive the blessing. But Rebekah wanted it to be Jacob.
So, she and Jacob played a trick – while Esau was out hunting one day, they dressed Jacob up as Esau and sent him in to his father. Isaac’s sight had failed him and he could no longer see. He was taken in by the trick and blessed Jacob instead of Esau.
When Esau returned and the trick was revealed, the family was torn apart – and Esau was livid!
Jacob had to run away, leaving his home and his family and everything he knew, to keep himself safe.
He set out on his journey, alone, and on that first lonely night, with no clue of what lay before him or whether he would ever see all that was familiar and loved again, he fell asleep, and God came to him in a dream, and this is the promise he made him…
“I am with you and will watch over you,
Wherever you may go,
And I will bring you back to this land.
I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you may go.”
God’s promise. Whatever happens, whatever changes, he is with us and will watch over us.
I’ve got my window open and I can hear the birds tweeting away out there. The sun still shines. God is there.
Take a couple of minutes to connect with the world around you, what can you see or hear or smell or feel or taste that is familiar, that reminds you God is with you?
God is with us. That’s worth being thankful for.
And he is present in his world through the hands of those he made.
Let’s give thanks for all those who are being God in his world – for the doctors, nurses and NHS staff who are working so hard to care for people; for the teachers, headteachers and school staff who are providing care for our children; for the supermarket staff who keep us fed; for those who provide care and company and comfort.
Know someone you want to be thankful for? Name them below. May God hold each one of them in his hands.
The second part of the promise:
“I will bring you back to this land.”
Jacob didn’t know how long it would take for God to fulfil that promise – he only knew that it was a promise made and he could choose to trust it.
This shall pass. Uncertainty shall pass. Worry shall pass.
And God will be there at the end, as he is there at the beginning and throughout.
Do you know someone who is ill? Or worried? Or lonely?
Pray for them now, name them if you like. Pray that they will know the comfort of God’s promise – this shall pass.
“I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
He doesn’t leave us. Ever.
Is there someone you can get in touch with today who may need to hear that? Write a letter, send a message, make a phone call?
Claim God’s promise as your own and pass it on to someone else who needs it. Make a note of their name.
“The Lord is the everlasting God.”
(I don’t have the extensive repertoire of Mr Froud on my guitar but this one I can play so it’s an assembly staple!)
That’s it for this morning’s content, but feel free to stay around, chat, revisit it later, add your own thoughts/reflections – none of us are far away, digitally if not physically!
I’ll be hanging around for a while now and we’ll be back here and there throughout the day.
Thanks for being here and for joining in, you’re all brilliant!
John will be taking the lead tomorrow at 10am.
Today, claim God’s promise:
“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you may go and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Wishing you peace, Zephyrs.