Podcast: For dispirited Saints – Canon Robert Vun

Weekly Reflections

A very good morning to you. How are you the past week? I pray that the cold, wet and overcast past few days have not affected you too much. I am glad to say that the weather will be better in the coming few days. I myself am dying for some sun and outdoor exercise soon.

This morning we shall begin our time together shall begin with a morning prayer from the first Century taken from the Syrian Clementine Liturgy.

Let us pray:
O God, Who art the unsearchable abyss of peace,
the ineffable sea of love,
the fountain of blessings,
and the bestower of affection,
Who sendest peace to those that receive it;
open to us this day the sea of Thy love,
and water us with the plenteous streams from the riches of Thy grace.
Make us children of quietness, and heirs of peace.
Enkindle in us the fire of Thy love;
sow in us Thy fear;
strengthen our weakness by Thy power;
bind us closely to Thee and to each other in one firm bond of unity;
for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.[1]

The Collect of the Week
Fourth Sunday of Easter
God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant: make us perfect in every good work to do your will, and work in us that which is well-pleasing in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bible Reading

Our Bible reading today is taken from 1 Kings 19:9-15a. It is about Elijah in his most desperate time. Queen Jezebel was furious that Elijah had killed over four hundred of her Baal prophets at Mount Carmel. She had sent a messenger to Elijah vowing that she will kill Elijah before the day is over. Elijah was so petrified that he fled into the wilderness and there the angels ministered to him twice with food and water. He then travelled another 40 days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

 Then Elijah came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

11 So the LORD said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 Then he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

15 The Lord said to Elijah, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus…


For dispirited Saints

Life has its up and down. No matter what our situation or how we feel, our wonderful God always will meet us where we are. He is God Immanuel – the God who is with us. One of my heroes of the Old Testament is the prophet Elijah. But in our passage, we just read, we see a dispirited Elijah hiding in a cave. And it is there God met him…

Notice how infinite tender and gentle God was. No earthquake for Elijah, no fire, nor rent mountains and rocks because Elijah was beyond the reach of these things by now. There was just only a quiet voice. There was rebuke, but it was very gentle. And a still small voice spoke.

Is there a voice that wants to speak to you today? Not the voice of anger, not the voice that will rend, but just the quiet voice of the Lord. What does he want to speak to you about? Well, a bit of work that he has for you to do. You see, there is no discharge from the service of our King. And this man who was running away heard of voice saying, “Go, return”.

God’s cure for this man who wanted to run away was to give him more work to do. The message to him was so personal: the word of the Lord coming to him.

It would be wonderful, would it not, if you look into your Bible, and the Word of the Lord should come to you through it. And into the darkness would come the first glimmer of light, and you realise suddenly that you are not cast off, you are not done yet.

This is just the dark hour of the soul. The Psalmist says, “Yes even though I walk through the valley of darkness, I will fear no evil for you are with me.” But what is a valley of darkness? Surely, the way from one green pasture to another, that is all.

If you have been going through the dark hour. You are not alone, my dear Christian, you are not alone. Giants of the faith like prophet Elijah have been there. If you find yourself in one of these dark valleys or one of these caves, just remember that it is the way from one pasture to another.

It happens to be dark for a while, the sun has gone out of the sky, but keep close to the Shepherd, and He will lead you through and he will lead you out. [2]

Let us pray:
Almighty and eternal God, You are hidden from my sight;
You are beyond the understanding of my mind;
Your thoughts are not as my thoughts;
Your ways are past finding out.
Yet you have breathed your spirit into my spirit;
Yet you have formed my mind to seek you;
Yet you have inclined my heart to love you;
Yet you have made me restless for the rest that is in you;
Yet you have planted within me a hunger and thirst that make me dissatisfied with all the joys of earth.
O Lord my God, you alone know what lies before me this day, grant that in every hour of it, I may stay close to you.
Let me be in the world, yet not of it.
Let me use its resources without abusing it.
If I buy, let me be as though I possessed not.
If I have nothing, let me be as though possessing all things.
Let me today embark on no undertaking that is not in line with your will for my life,
nor shrink from any sacrifice that your will may demand.
Suggest, direct, control every movement of my mind, for my Lord Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

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.  (2 Timothy 1.6–7)

[1] Prayers of the Early Church; J Manning Potts (Ed.) The Upper Room, Nashville, Tennessee. 1953. (p.15.)

[2] George Duncan; The Dark Hours of the Soul, 1958.