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Saturday, May 23, 2020
“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no, never, no, never forsake.”
“How Firm a Foundation” (v. 5) from John Rippon’s A Selection of Hymns (1787)
Hymn 463, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal
“I’ll never, no, never, no, never forsake” is the last line of this hymn. As Stuart Jamieson pointed out yesterday, this COVID-19 pandemic feels like a spiritual fire. It is so hard to get up every day, prepare ourselves for something—we don’t always know what—take care of our families. and think about how to be faithful in isolation. Not long ago we experienced Lent and the passion of Jesus, knowing that resurrection would come. I rely on that metaphor of moving from darkness into light as my frame for each day.
The last line of the hymn references Hebrews 13:
“Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. . . . Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, ‘“I will never leave you or forsake you.’”
This is giving me strength. I’m finding new ways of letting mutual love continue and not neglecting strangers. Our jail ministers are sending DVDs and notes to detainees and officers at Cook County Jail. I’m rethinking how to live on Social Security as my only income. Frankly, I’m lucky with a roof over my head, affordable food from local grocery stores, and technology that allows for video conferences with friends and family. Even with these securities, I am worried about the future of our country, the world, and especially the people who don’t have the basics of life. What I don’t worry about is God’s love of me and Jesus ever forsaking me.
Dear Lord, help me keep the faith, knowing that you will not forsake me. Help me continue building the firm foundation of a faith that serves others. And thank you for what you have given me. Amen.
Written by Written by Maggie Shreve, Parish Associate for Jail Ministry
Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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