Mark's Midweek Musings

Wednesday March 25, 2020

"How long Lord, how long??

Dear Friends,

These are extraordinary times and we are learning new ways to remain connected with each other. I've been impressed when I've heard of contacts that have been made either using internet or the old fashioned telephone. The other day an email chain was created for those who are involved in Take a Break. Thank you as well to Gail Verwoerd who has organized a telephone ministry to keep in touch with those who may be alone or in other ways isolated. Now more than ever we need to remember we are united together as the body of Christ even tough we are distanced and not gathering in our beloved church.

If there's someone you're thinking of ... give them a call ... send them an email ... write them a letter. Now is the time not to ignore the opportunity, it may even be God nudging you.

I know I appreciate these opportunities to stay in touch and continue to minister to you in these days. Thank you for the notes I have received expressing your gratitude and encouraging me to keep well myself. I appreciate your care and concern.
Watch for the link for prayers and reflections
during this Covid 19 pandemic

Wed March 25

with some thoughts on the lectionary readings for yesterday morning

They are particuarly relevant in a time such as this.

Stay tuned!!
Again this Sunday I will record a liturgy
of prayers, scripture, reflection and music.

It will be posted on our website
and I will send out a link to everyone on Saturday night.

At 10:30 on Sunday
I encourage anyone who is able
to worship at their computer.

We may have suspended corporate worship
but we can still worship together
at the same time
with the same prayers and readings.

This is a faithful way
for us to continue as the church
doing what we do best
worshiping together as the body of Christ
Please be sure to check out
"Connecting in Faith"
on our church website.

I've updated it with a reflection
on the blessings we have received
during such a time as this
in our experience of Covid 19

Let me know some of your thoughts and reflections
and I can post them too.

What blessings have you received
over these past few days?

Thank you Nellie for your reply!!!
You were the first!!

Let's make this into a dialogue
and conversation!

Take a look ...

I look forward to hearing from you!!
Easter greeting project ...

I invite each of you
to record this greeting
using your cell phone or tablet
and send it to me at

and I will put them all together
so we can share our greetings with one another
for a blessed Easter.

Greeting to record ....

Happy Easter friends
... may the peace of Christ be with you!

Looking forward to receiving your greeting!!!
As of now the church office will be officially closed.

I will be working remotely from home
throughout the other days of the week.

Evelyn will be checking messages and emails regularly
so that we can respond to any emergencies that arise.

She will also assist in making
any bank deposits as donations arrive
and paying any necessary bills.

Please contact the church office
if you are in any need
by phone or email.

Pastoral support continues to be available
by The Rev. Canon Mark Kinghan.

Yesterday, Jenny and I 
recorded an internet  hymn sing.

I will share it with you
so you can join in 
some of your favorite hymns.

Watch for it on Thursday!!
Our bishops have called everyone
through the Diocese of Toronto to a day of prayer

Here is the link to resources
that may be helpful to you.

Included is a link to prayer resources
at various times throughout the day ...
morning, noon and evening.

Let's join sisters and brothers
across our diocese in prayer
on Tursday March 26

The Dicoese is encouraging
the sharing of stories of
moments that have inspired us
during the Covid 19 Pandemic

Here's the link
if you have something you'd like to share ...

Another way to stay connected
and share with each other
what God is up to
especially in a time such as this.
Our Primate, The Most Reverend Linda Nicholls
has invited Anglicans across the country
to join in prayer

Tune in live to on Sunday, March 29 at 7pm (EDT) 
on the Anglican Church of Canada Facebook page
Sunday March 29 at 7 pm

Join other Anglicans around Canada
and witness to our shared faith
especially during this time

Light a candle of hope in the window of your home
or on the porch
but please be sure to do so in a way that is safe.

Let's join together as we pray:
  • for repentance as we look at ourselves and ask how we have shared in the divisions and pain of difficult conversations across the Communion in recent years (see resources);
  • for the whole Anglican Communion as we seek to support and care for one another as siblings in Christ in the midst of this and other crises (see resources);
  • for the whole world as we share in the effects of COVID19 – for health care workers; researchers, those who are ill, those are quarantined or in isolation and those who are abandoned and alone in this time; and
  • for our hope in the gospel—that God is with us now and always.
"How long Lord, how long??"

Throughout history, from the beginning of creation, all through the Old Testament, there are accounts of God's people crying out, "how long Lord, how long?".

Here are two examples ...

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? (Habakkuk 1: 2)

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? (Psalm 13: 1)

In truth, in our human condition, we often struggle with having patience with ourselves and others around us. I know I do. We live in a time when we want instant results and immediate answers. And when we don't get them, and there is a lag of time as we wait, it's easy to become frustrated and even angry.

As I thought about that, I wondered why should it be any different in our spirituality and our relationships with God. When we pray to God about an immediate need, placing a time sensitive request before God, we want and need a response now. Not tomorrow; not next week; not in a month; we're looking for an answer to our prayer right now. 

I think that's especially true when we are living in such a time as this. With all the anxiety and fear that is real because of Covid 19, we do what God has told us to do; we pray for healing and an end to this pandemic and the pandemonium it has caused. And yet, what do we hear on the news ... increasing number of cases ... a shortage of medical supplies needed ... reports of another death. We get a call from a family member saying they are in isolation because they may have been exposed. Yes, in all of that we go to God in prayer because that is all we can do.

I was included in a zoom conversation on Monday afternoon with other clergy from Uxbridge churches. We heard from two members who are involved in the Uxbridge Covid 19 response team. They, along with medical professionals from our community, are working with our mayor on preparing Uxbridge for what is still to come. We are fortunate to have such a group looking ahead and being proactive.

This isn't meant to raise anxiety and fear, but we have yet to experience very much locally when it comes to Covid 19. We were told that undoubtedly that will change and likely in the very near future. We discussed how we as pastors and churches can respond to the needs that will arise and in fact grow exponentially. We were encouraged to recognize ourselves that as pastors we won't be able to do everything and will need to prioritize how we spend our time and where our resources go. This was extremely sobering for me to hear and process. But, it is the reality of such a time as this.

With such a new reality, we verbalize all the more, how long Lord, how long. It's a question that will likely come from deeper and deeper in our souls. And in truth, we can turn to medical professionals and those who are advising us on how to keep well. But the primary one we need to turn to is God. And as we need to voice that question ... how long Lord, how long. Because prayer is about communicating with God what is on our hearts and our deepest needs. 

I want to encourage us not to berate ourselves if and when we ask, how long Lord, how long. That is a very real question. Ask it; cry it; scream it. God won't judge us for asking it over and over again, and sometimes with more emotion than others. Remember, God knows exactly what it's like to be in our shoes because He sent Jesus who was every bit as human as we are.

One of the things we need to pray for in the midst of all of this is the gift of patience and for a peace which passes all understanding in the midst of anxiety, fear and frustration we feel, perhaps even toward God. Patience is a gift of the Holy Spirit. I will pray for that for myself and for each of you too. Patient trust is what we need at this moment and in the days to come.

Here are some suggestions I read on line of what we can do in the midst of the waiting in the days, weeks even months to come ...
  • keep praying, trusting, rejoicing and worshiping;
  • pray for healing for yourself, your family and friends, all people and all creation too;
  • keep responding to the needs of the vulnerable and poor, seeking justice, respect and dignity for all people, especially the most marginalized of our community

I offer this song I found which can potentially help us in our impatience as we ask "How long, O Lord, how long?"

And some scripture passages about patience ...

You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.
(James 5:8)

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. (Psalm 40:1)

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3: 12)

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12: 12)

How Long O Lord? 
A Poem Based on Psalm 13
wirtten by Steve Sering

Broken smiles, faded miles,
On this beat up path.
A weary soul, a growing hole,
I need your Shepherd’s staff.
To guide me home, protect me from
The darkness lingering.
And from your heart, a melody
Please teach me how to sing.
I run to you, in broken haste,
To see the light of day,
By your grace, I fight again,
To turn my pain to praise.
How long O Lord? Forget me not.
Don’t hide your face from me.
Deep sorrows pierce my heavy heart,
Dark valleys all I see.
Light up my eyes, to see your face,
From sleep awakening.
Trusting in your steadfast love,
You’ve dealt so bountifully.
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St. Paul's Anglican Church, Uxbridge · 59 Toronto Street · Uxbridge, On L9P1H1 · Canada

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