Weekly Devotion by Canon Robert Vun, Canon Missioner of St Paul’s Cathedral, on ‘Taking the fear out of Change’ from 1 Kings 17.1-6. You can listen or read below.
A good morning to you. It has been a month now since we went into lockdown. I pray that you have been keeping well and in good spirits. As we pause again to spend a short time in reflection, may this time of self-isolation also be an opportunity to deepen our relationship with our Lord.
We shall now begin with a very early Christian prayer. This prayer is taken from one of the prayers found in Papyri and Potsherds of the third to the sixth century. In this personal prayer, the Godhead is addressed through Christ and provided with a doxology to the Father.
Let us pray:
Helper of all who turn to you, Light of all in the dark,
Creator of all that grows from seed, Promoter of all spiritual growth,
Have mercy, Lord, on me and make me a temple fit for yourself.
Do not scan my transgressions too closely,
For if you are quick to notice my offences,
I shall not dare to appear before you.
In your great mercy, In your boundless compassion,
Wash away my sins, through Jesus Christ,
Your only child, the truly holy,
The chief of our souls’ healers.
Through Him may all glory be given to you,
All power and honour and praise,
Through the unending succession of ages. Amen.
The Collect of the Week
Third Sunday of Easter
who in your great mercy made glad the disciples
with the sight of the risen Lord:
give us such awareness of his presence with us
that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life,
and serve you continually in righteousness and truth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
1 Kings 17:1-6 (NASB)
Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” 2 The word of the Lord came to him, saying, 3 “Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 4 It shall be that you will drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and lived by the brook Cherith, which is [c]east of the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he would drink from the brook.
Taking the fear out of change.
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I must learn the discipline of change. My preconceived ideas of God’s direction will be upset frequently because I am only God’s servant, not His counsellor. When the cross came into view, Jesus did not become frustrated, but said, “Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.” (Matthew 11:26)
Jesus submitted willingly because he knew the intent of the Father. That is the key: to be assured of God’s intent. We may forget the details as long as we accept the person who is inaugurating the changes. To haggle over details, to fuss over delays, and to sulk when God seemingly changes his tactics is really an unconscious defamation of God’s character.
So often God will tell me, as He did his disciples, “It is not for you to know” (Acts 1:7). The basic difference between a natural and spiritual person is that the natural person demands to know, while the spiritual person is content to obey. That is why God does not make knowledge the condition of anything. He does not say, “O you of little knowledge,” but, “O you are little faith” (Matthew 6:30). Knowledge comes either with, or just after, the happening.
So much of our lives is lived in the dark. It is in the “nevertheless afterward” that we finally understand what God has been up to all the while. Today, some try to understand what God is doing in this worldwide COVID -19 pandemic. They make themselves sick by trying to fathom God. Peace comes by letting the attitude of Jesus come through: which says “Yes, Father, for this is your good will” (Luke 10:21). I can adapt to change if only I will adapt to the One who changes my situation. The crux of it is right there, in my relationship with him. In the hands of a changeless God, I need to fear no change.
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (James 1:17.)
Let us pray:
O Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning; who abides steadfast as the stars of heaven: give us grace to rest upon your eternal changelessness, and in your faithfulness find peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Daily Prayer)
O God our Father, who has taught us that our citizenship is in heaven, and has called us to tread a pilgrim’s path here on earth: Guide us, we pray, on our journey through this world to the Celestial city; defend us from the perils that await us in the way; give us grace to endure faithfully to the end; and at the last bring us to your eternal joy; through the mercy of your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. (Frank Colquhoun)
The Morning Collect
Eternal God and Father,
by whose power we are created
and by whose love we are redeemed:
guide and strengthen us by your Spirit,
that we may give ourselves to your service,
and live this day in love to one another and to you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. May we rekindle the gift of God within us. Amen. (see 2 Timothy 1.6–7)
 Early Christian Prayers; A Hamman (Ed.) Translated by Walter Mitchell. Longmans, Green & Co Ltd. 1961.
 W. Glyns Evans; Daily With The King (The Moody Bible Institute: 1979) p. 90-91.