God, we cry out to you today. We are thankful for the words that you give us through the prophet Joel, words that help us know how to navigate this invisible threat made visible through death, loss, and suffering. You remind us that there was another time, thousands of years ago, when your people, Israel, went through a devastating plague. It destroyed everything and affected all people – the rich, the poor, the leaders, both political and religious. Life was splintered and laid waste. Provisions perished and languished. Storehouses were desolate. The beasts groaned and suffered.
Gladness was dried up.
Yet, at such a time as this, you tell us that we are to cry out to you.
To lament and mourn.
To awake and wail.
To put on sackcloth.
To return to you with all our hearts - with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.
To cry out to the LORD.
To you, O LORD, do we call.
Oh LORD, we lament all those who have died from this virus - from Dallas to New York, China, Iran, Italy and all over this earth.
We mourn those who have lost their jobs and are fearful of how they will survive.
We lament the lack of resources in so many hospitals and clinics in our country and in other parts of the world, putting staff and patients at risk.
We mourn the tough decisions that many medical providers in Italy are having to face, who gets access to limited resources and thus survive.
We lament the fear, anxiety and suffering so many are experiencing right now.
Oh LORD, we weep.
Jesus, we weep as you wept at the death of your friend Lazarus and the sorrow it brought his family.
We weep, as you wept on the Mount of Olives over the city of Jerusalem and its coming suffering.
We cry out, as you did in the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing the suffering and death you would face.
A Man despised and rejected, familiar with Suffering, the Carrier of our Sorrows and Bearer of our Infirmities
We weep, but we also Remember.
You are Gracious and Merciful
Slow to anger
Abounding in Steadfast Love
You Relent over disaster
You are in the Midst of Israel, your people
You are the LORD our God and there is None else
You have defeated Death
Anchor us with the truth of who you are when all around is chaos and confusion.
Protect us from the lies of the enemy who would use this to turn us and others away from you.
As we remember your goodness to us in the midst of darkness, help us to be a light, joy, and a gladness where you have placed us.
Show us how to love our neighbors well.
Reveal to us our idols that we may be sanctified.
Pour out your spirit and bring salvation to the lost.
We repent of any selfishness, unrighteous anger or unforgiveness that we have felt, thought or acted out.
Forgive us, merciful God.
We praise you, LORD, that we have this hope: You will Restore to us the years the swarming locust has eaten.
“So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall never again pass through it.
And in that day, the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the streambeds of Judah shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord and water the Valley of Shittim.”
“No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
And night will be no more. They will need no lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”
Amen, come Lord Jesus.