Bible Readings and Devotion for March 24, 2020
You are encouraged to read these passages from this page or from your personal Bible. After the readings is a devotion based on one or more of the readings.
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or an online Bible – click passage listing for link to online:
Devotion for March 24, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
In one of today’s psalm, Psalm 59, we read the first two verses:
“Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
protect me from those who rise up against me.
Deliver me from those who work evil;
from the bloodthirsty save me.”
In its first context, this psalm is a prayer by King David for deliverance from his interpersonal or international enemies. It is well known that King David struggled against enemies from within Israel, within his family, and with neighboring nations.
For us today we are facing a different enemy. We are facing a difficult to control disease which is spreading around the world. COVID19 is especially dangerous for older people. We are seeing the tragedy of this situation with our friends in Italy where the population is the oldest on average. The healthcare system is overwhelmed. Many older people who have gotten sick with COVID19 in Italy are simply being placed in hospice due to lack of equipment and facilities to treat them. This disease is an enemy of sorts for us.
Our friend and teacher Martin Luther faced enemies of this sort in his lifetime. Here is a helpful quote from Martin Luther regarding a plague which took place about 500 years ago:
“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”
From: Luther’s Works Volume 43 pg 132 the letter “Whether one may flee from a Deadly Plague” written to Rev. Dr. John Hess.
We have a calling by Jesus to love our neighbors and to love one another. That is the foundation of our current practice of not meeting together.
Ministry is still happening, but it is taking a different shape during this situation. Here are some things you can be doing to love one another and to love your neighbors:
*Keep in contact with your fellow church members and friends. Phone calls, letters, email, and social media can all be used to keep connected. You are especially encouraged to keep in contact with individuals who are more isolated due to age, health, or other circumstances.
*Pray for one another, the church (both local and around the nation and world), for those who are sick, for medical and emergency personnel, for the lonely, for those who have lost income due to this health crisis.
*Join in the daily Bible Reading which is part of these daily devotions.
*Remember your regular offerings to God through the church. The church expenses will continue during this time. Additionally, these are an important aspect of your faith expression. You are encouraged to resolve to keep faithful to your giving at this challenging time.
Here are ways you can keep up your offerings during this time away:
– send your offering by mail to the church office.
– set aside your offerings each week, and then bring these to church when you can be at worship again.
– for those who give their offerings through MLLC: give offerings through the church web site: mllccarmine.com/online-giving This page has a link to our secure giving page. Offerings can be made by bank draft, debit card, or credit card through this special web site.
*Get plenty of rest, eat properly, wash your hands regularly, and pay attention to special notices by government authorities regarding this pandemic situation. If you are having health issues, seek medical attention.
With God’s help, strength, and wisdom, and the gift of our broader community, we can be strong in the face of this new enemy.
Almighty and merciful God, you are the only source of health and healing; you alone can bring calmness and peace. Grant to us, your children, an awareness of your presence and a strong confidence in you. In our pain, our weariness, and our anxiety, surround us with your care, protect us by your loving might, and permit us once more to enjoy health and strength and peace; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.