Weekly Letter from St Luke's - 7 October 2020
Dear Parish Friends
I came across this week an article encouraging us to pray for the current Covid-19 pandemic, and other global problems, as our ‘spiritual war-work’. This language comes from the insights of Evelyn Underhill, a British, Anglican, mystical theologian, writing during the Second World War. She encouraged her followers to pray for world leaders, on both sides of the conflict, as their contribution to the war effort. Prayer, for Underhill, was ‘Christian love in action’ and she was utterly convinced of the power of prayer to impact the world. But more than this, as they prayed, Underhill’s team of women were themselves changed.
We are reminded in this that prayer for our world leaders at this (and any time) is something that we are called to do at all times. As we intercede, we become channels of Jesus’ saving love, showing compassion, love and generosity to our fragile world. And we pray that our world leaders (including those we don’t like) will receive wisdom, generosity, kindness and compassion.
St Paul gives us the same message. He writes
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
This is the way of life to which we are called. It is a Christ-centred world view. As we reflect on the world we are drawn to prayer. As we pray we lay claim to the promises of God in Christ Jesus and this is a source of joy.
There are many resources that can help us as we pray for the world. One that I regularly look at is http://worldinprayer.org/. The authors of this website could well have been inspired by Evelyn Underhill when they write:
Praying for the world means, first of all, being aware of what’s happening in international news. It means sharing in God’s loving compassion for all. It means praying week in and week out, when the news is full of great joy and devastating sorrow, boringly ordinary or startlingly unexpected. It means stretching ourselves to pray with love and respect for those we hate, and those we merely dismiss.
And then, June will remind me, there is singing. As we sing we join with the angels in the endless round of praise and supplication. Daniel Iverson wrote:
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me; Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. Break me, melt me, mould me, fill me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the Living God, move among us all; Make us one in heart and mind, make us one in love. Humble, caring, selfless, sharing – Spirit of the living God, move among us all.
With blessings for the week ahead.
Yours in Christ