Published on March 18, 2020
This phrase is used at the beginning of our Booth UC gatherings to draw us together and to remind us of God’s presence in all circumstances.
Of necessity, we have cancelled our gatherings as part of our response to COVID-19, but we do not lose sight of who we are as a community.
Going forward I will share a brief email with you each Monday morning to remind us that, “bidden or unbidden, God is present”. It will be a simple message – a song, scripture, or poem.
Yesterday when I woke, the words of this wonderful old hymn were playing through my mind. I had chosen this song to open our April convocation service at Knox Church. Let it be an encouragement for us today.
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation;
O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and salvation;
All ye who hear, brothers and sisters draw near,
Praise him in glad adoration.
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely his goodness and mercy here daily attend thee;
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
He who with love doth befriend thee.
Praise to the Lord, who, when tempests their warfare are waging,
Who, when the elements madly around thee are raging,
Biddeth them cease, turneth their fury to peace,
Whirlwinds and waters assuaging.
Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness of sin is abounding,
Who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding,
Sheddeth his light, chaseth the horrors of night,
Saints with his mercy surrounding.
Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before him!
Let the amen sound from his people again:
Gladly for aye we adore him.
Joachim Neander, trs Catherine Winkworth and others
Dr Marjory Kerr
March 23, 2020
“Bidden or unbidden, God is present”
It was strange to walk away from campus on Friday afternoon, fully aware that we don’t know when we will physically gather again as a community. Within that, I am thankful that to the best of our knowledge our students, faculty and staff remain free of COVID-19 at this time. And I am thankful that through your efforts, flexibility and commitment we are able to continue to fulfill our mission in a dramatically different context than we have been called to face before.
For all that you need to accomplish this week and whatever that looks like in your circumstances, for all the unknowns we are living with, Psalm 121 reminds us that God is watching over our lives. This doesn’t change.
God bless you.
Psalm 121: 1-8:
I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Dr Marjory Kerr