Holy Week Devotional (Tuesday)
‘Make me a channel of your peace‘
This month we “celebrated” that the corona virus is among us since one year. In the beginning I thought that it would be over soon and that we could go back to normal very soon but after one year we are still in the middle of the crisis.
What happened in this year? Many people were infected by this virus. The hospitals couldn’t handle the situation because of too many people who had to be treated on the intensive care. Because of this our government decided to a lock down. Children had to stay at home, parents were made teachers, the restaurants and the pubs were closed and so were the theatres. To follow lessons you had to sit behind a computer. MBO, HBO and universities are closed and students have only online lessons.
People lost their income, especially the free lancers who had no orders anymore. The old people in the care houses couldn’t see their children and grandchildren anymore. They were sitting completely alone in their rooms. Among them the virus infected many people.
After one year we can conclude that the poor are most affected by the virus. They have more often diabetes or asthma.
The churches are closed mostly and we couldn’t celebrate Eucharist and receive Holy Communion. We miss it because this is a sign of hope.
Time of suffering
Lots of people suffer. There are people who lost their partner because of corona and they couldn’t be there when their loved ones died. Some children grow up in an difficult situation. For them school is a safe haven but they can’t go there. People who lost their jobs face debts and that is why more people try to commit suicide.
We are living on islands and what we long for is to get of the islands and to touch each other and to hug, but it is not safe to do so. We have to keep distance we have to stay on our islands. People are protesting against the rules and I can imagine that. It is completely unnatural to keep distance. People are sick of the rules and they protest against it. The police asks them to leave and if they don’t they use violence. People always have the right to protest but under these circumstances it is a problem. In this situation we celebrate Easter for the second time and that is not easy.
About 2600 years ago there was also suffering. That is what Isaiah is talking about in the reading. Jerusalem was destroyed and the people went in exile. They were living on islands, not literary but figuratively. They were living among non-Jews, the Gentiles, families were divided and couldn’t reach each other anymore. The religious heart, the temple, was destroyed. Under these circumstances they had to keep their faith and that was not easy.
In Isaiah 49:1-7 we read how Isaiah is called to be a prophet for the islands. God called him already when he was an unborn child. God made his mouth like a sharpened sword, just like every prophet. His task is to bring back Israel to God but this task is not big enough. He must be a light for the gentiles. God’s message is for everybody, Jew or Gentile.
At first he says “no”, he has been working so hard.
But God says that the one who first was despised and abhorred will be honoured. Kings will stand up and princes will see and bow down.
In this prophet we recognize Jesus. Read the story of Good Friday and you can see that Jesus is despised and abhorred. He was faithful to His message of the kingdom of God. A message meant for everybody, meant to bring everybody to the Lord, Jews and Gentiles.
Despised and abhorred but now people bow their heads for Him, also kings and queens. I can imagine that Queen Elizabeth only bows for Jesus, because of what He did. When I come in church I bow my head for the cross of Jesus. Why? Because I have so much respect for His message and for what He has done. Jesus died for the forgiveness of sins. The only way to reach the kingdom of God is by forgiveness.
Make me an instrument of your peace
To follow Jesus means to leave your island and to go out and to tell it from the mountain. While we are in lock down we have to stay on our island, we simply can’t go out, but for God, everything is possible and maybe we don’t see how or when. We need to listen to God’s voice and be creative and we can pray for it. St. Francis, who was living in the 14th century, wrote this prayer and in this time it is very meaningful.
This is a prayer you can use today and through this week.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.
To download this devotional to read offline:
This prayer is made to a song.
You can listen here to a version sung by Susan Boyle:
By Angela Berben.