Seeing Salvation

Beloved Carstairs Bancroft United Church Members,
I trust this finds you well. 
I believe our trust in God’s love and providence – no matter the circumstances – provides us an attitude and mindset that help us to wrestle with fears, pain and all sorts of challenges this life throws at us. 
When we decide to listen to God, and Jesus who was sent to save us and lead us back to the Source of Life, our eyes may open to see that we are blessed. This recognition causes a ripple effect, and we ourselves may become blessings to our environment. 
The “Our Daily Bread” devotions I forward to you have a reflection part, and one of today’s questions pinpointed me:  “How has God called you to be part of His transforming work on earth?”
Though I am among those who grieve the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic – my family wasn’t able to visit me due to travel restrictions – there are still many things that I can count as a blessing: 
I know that I can take my sorrow to God, and can trust that God listens when I cry out. This gives me peace even when I miss my family.
I still can keep in touch with them on the phone and through video calls – which I really appreciate – and I may know that they are keeping healthy.
I still have a roof over my head and food to eat! We have to learn not to take these provisions for granted, but to give thanks for them daily. 
I have eyes to see, and ears to hear the beauties of awakening nature – busy Canadian gees, melting ice,  the contour of the Rockies in the glowing sunshine – because COVID-19 won’t stop spring coming. 🙂
So, I believe the ability to count our blessings enables us to be part of God’s transforming work on earth.
The other way we can participate in God’s work is persistent prayer. Our prayers matter, and Jesus himself encourages us to ask. My minister friend, who also sends out a daily message to her congregation, highlighted it this way:
“Pray for the sick.
Pray for the doctors.
Pray for the nurses.
They do their best, sparing no effort. Could you do the same? Pray for them.
Pray for all the courageous people who work in hospitals healing, nursing, cleaning,
whose work is so important, and also risky, pray to the Lord to keep them safe.”
She also sent a prayer that I would like to share with you:
“Great God, You are an ever-present help in times of trouble…
We are troubled and we are worried because things are going to get more troubling. …
Be with front line medical workers, give them courage to do their work and keep them safe.
Be with public health officials as they make decisions for the common good…
Help us to be kind to one another…
Help our communities to be resilient and expansive as we try to reach out to help all
who are isolated and afraid.
In these troubled times help us zero in on what is essential.

Thank you that love is more contagious and stronger than any virus.
You will be with us, and we will be with each other in sickness and in health.
We gradually become God’s co-workers by counting our blessings, remembering the salvation God has already accomplished, and in persistent prayers.
Remember “that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
Thanks be to God!
Rev. Maria Szabo Berces
Carstairs Bancroft United Church
1202 Hammond Street, Box 34
Carstairs, AB T0M 0N0