Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Psalm 91: A prayer for the new year 2007

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (Ps. 91:1).

1. It is not difficult to become discouraged about the world in which we live. We notice that the nations put their trust in weapons of mass destruction. We notice how thoroughly celebration of the birth of Christ has become commercialized. And within the Christian community worldwide we find much division, mistrust and even active hostility. In the face of trouble, may we remember to say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (Ps. 91:2).

2. As Christians we discover that our lives are not smooth and easy; in fact, we no longer have full control of our own lives, but Christ has come to live in us. In the year that lies ahead, may we be proven as true agents of his love, mercy and compassion for a broken world. May we say with the psalmist, “He will cover us with his feathers, and under his wings we will find refuge; his faithfulness will be our shield and rampart” (Ps. 91:4).

3. Looking to the year ahead at Unijos, we hope to complete several writing projects. Adrian is working on a text for an Ecclesiology course, and Wendy hopes to finish a text for graduate students in New Testament Greek, as well as a text on Early Christianity suitable for classes which comprise both Christian and Muslim students. In this work our desire is to provide good resources for our students, resources that will continue to be useful once we are gone. Please pray with us for the guidance of the Spirit of God who “commands his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Ps.91:11).

4. We celebrated Christmas and the New Year in North America, but hope to be on our way back to Nigeria by January 16th. Both of us have suffered from colds and flu in the past week. And there is always much to do in preparation for the return: winding up with the necessary shopping, medical appointments, completion of research needed for teaching and academic papers, as well as goodbyes to family and friends, supporters and colleagues. May we experience peace in the midst of this busyness, for we know “(his angels) will lift us up in their hands, so that we will not strike our foot against a stone” (Ps. 91:12).

5. One of the important concerns which drew us to North America at this time was the frailty of Adrian’s parents. For them aging has brought pain, struggle and confusion. And the issue of a long-term care facility has not yet been resolved. Even so, our Lord reminds us, “Because he loves me, I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation” (Ps. 91.14-16). May this truly be their comfort and ours, for the year that lies ahead.

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