Posted March 23, 2020 by Wheaton College Chaplain's Office
Tags: Life with God Newsletters
Dear Members of the Wheaton College Community,
We invite you to read this newsletter slowly. It takes roughly 3 minutes to read at fast, news-headline-skimming speed. Please consider giving yourself 5-10 minutes to slow down, be still, and read at a prayerful, meditative pace.
In this tumultuous season, when we can no longer gather for worship in person, we are realizing how precious that is. With Bonhoeffer, who spoke from his own personal familiarity with isolation, we are especially aware right now that “The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer.”
But we can find new ways of connecting both with one another, and especially, with God. For above all, what we need, as at all times but especially right now, is not really a “what” but a “who” – Who God is for us in Jesus by the Spirit, and receiving and resting in Him. How do we maintain our fellowship with one another in fellowship with Father, Son, and Spirit? We are already forced to ask similar questions: How do we stay connected to family and friends? Where can we go? What kind of contact is safe? This newsletter aims to address the spiritual corollary to such questions, namely, “How are we living life with God?” That is the crucial question for us right now.
We will use these weekly newsletters to offer structure and guidance for your spiritual formation during this unusual season. Each week we will provide some suggestions of prayers to pray, scriptures to read, prompts to consider in private journaling or conversations with spiritual friends, and suggested practices for participating in God’s kingdom work. The focus of this week’s readings is on faith, hope, and love, which summarizes Life with God, a strategic initiative of Wheaton College to help all faculty, staff, and students commit to a shared way of life. We will use the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to purposefully reconsider the way we live life with God.
Here are suggested scripture readings for the week of March 23. Before you read the passage, take a moment to be still. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, slowly, until you are relaxed and calm. Read the passage slowly, either silently or aloud. Ask God to speak to you directly.
Monday: Romans 4:13-25
Tuesday: Exodus 34:5-8
Wednesday: Romans 15:13
Thursday: Lamentations 3:16-33
Friday: 1 John 4:13-21
Saturday: 1 Corinthians 13
Sunday: Deuteronomy 10:12-22
- What does the text say?
- What is God saying to me through the text?
- What do I want to say to God about the text?
- What difference will the text make in my life?
- You may want to jot down your thoughts in a journal and also plan to talk about your experience with a friend.
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.
Pray for the Lord’s wisdom and daily grace for President Ryken, the COVID-19 Team, and administrators seeking to guide the College and their divisions and departments through unknown territory. Pray for the Lord’s provision in seeing Wheaton through this season. Pray for His inspiration, creativity and peace for faculty as they work to ready their classes to teach on-line this
Pray for the Holy Spirit’s comfort and encouragement for students in the sudden loss of life on campus in the last quad of the year. Pray for the Lord to guide the efforts of the Chaplain’s Office in knowing how to spiritually minister to the varying needs of the members of the campus community. Praise the Lord for His love and wisdom in knowing exactly how to meet the situation.
Community and World
Pray for the Lord’s protection and strength for healthcare workers and administrators, medical researchers, and emergency responders faced with overwhelming circumstances. Pray for the Lord’s provision for families in the closure of schools and businesses, with added responsibilities at home and the potential for loss of income. Pray for low wage and hourly workers feeling the economic impact, especially those in the hospitality and travel industries. Pray for the Lord to steady our country and the world as financial markets reel, and work, trade, and travel stoppages threaten to disrupt the global supply chain networks.
What actions might you take this week in response to your time with God? What specific and tangible commitment will you make today to live your life with God?
Upcoming Chapel Services
- Gathering for chapel today, March 23 from 10:40 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. CST, and then this coming Wednesday and Friday, March 25 and 27 at 10:40 a.m. CST.
- Access chapel broadcast via the regular chapel broadcast page.
- Next week’s online chapel gathering is Monday, March 30, from 10:40 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. CST, and each subsequent Monday through April 27 at 10:40 a.m. CST.