What’s Your Favourite Bible Verse?
That’s the question I asked of my congregation at Calvary, Greensborough early in Lockdown 6.0 here in Metro Melbourne. I didn’t expect a massive response but was pleased when I received many emails and messages from members sharing their most beloved passages with me.
This is my eighth year serving here and it’s the third time round the Revised Common Lectionary so I thought this might be a way of mixing things up a little with my preaching and maybe introduce some passages of Scripture which aren’t normally featured in worship and preaching. It wound up being about a 50/50 split between lectionary texts and those that do not appear anywhere in the three-year cycle. The ulterior motive was to introduce some texts which people have chosen to motivate and encourage them in difficult times, because, as you may have noticed, we are all currently experiencing challenging times.
We started our series with Isaiah 41:10 “do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” One of the many passages in Scripture which encourage us to not fear or be afraid, reminding us of the presence of God strengthening and upholding us at all times and in all circumstances.
Then there was Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. ” And recently Joshua 1:9 “9 I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 
You might see a bit of a theme developing here. Whether we are gathered together in person for worship in our usual church buildings, or perhaps with limited numbers as we return with restrictions easing or gathered via digital means either live-streamed or recorded. God is with us, giving us strength and courage, taking away our fears, encouraging us to acknowledge him and worship him.
What is YOUR favourite Bible verse or passage? I always ask during funeral preparation if the person had a favourite text? Often the family are completely unaware, even if the deceased was a regular worshipper with a solid devotional life. Perhaps we should be more open and up-front about where we gain our strength from. Which passage of Scripture have you heard and learned in your journey through life that grounds you, strengthens you, challenges you or gives you comfort? Would a loved one also connect with it and commit it to memory for their time of need? Is it what you need to hear for yourself right now? Do you have a favourite passage to turn to or is now a good time to seek one out?
I pray that the Lord of all hope will give you comfort and peace. Do not be afraid, be strong and courageous and know that the Lord is with you at all times and in all circumstances.