Prayer for the Day – Monday 4 May

Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Amen.

2 Corinthians 4.5–12

5For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. 6For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. 8We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 11For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. 12So death is at work in us, but life in you.

These early chapters of II (yes, ii) Corinthians (3 & 4) teach an interesting concept of reliance on Christ. The idea being that, when we are at the end of ourselves, only then can Christ’s work in us begin. I think it picks up on that old chestnut, salvation ‘by works’, suggesting that our pride gets in the way so; only when we stop trying to prove ourselves, can we actually relax and discover Christ works in us. It’s almost like saying, stop trying… but that can only succeed if we understand the fine line where our pride stops and Jesus is allowed to work through us, for his sake.
(Perhaps, that phrase ‘for his sake’ is the key. Christians are to live to the glory of God: that’s not easy, as we like to take credit for ourselves, puffed up with pride. That then defeats the whole object of being Christian: living to the glory of God. – If these two chapters intrigue you further, do be in touch.)

from Psalm 103

 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
   and all that is within me bless his holy name.
 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
   and forget not all his benefits;
 Who forgives all your sins
   and heals all your infirmities;
 Who redeems your life from the Pit
   and crowns you with faithful love and compassion;
 Who satisfies you with good things,