Kathryn joins me in wishing every reader a Happy New Year. Let’s hope and pray it is a big improvement on the year we say goodbye to!
One of the things that occurred to me as we welcomed in the New Year was that in saying goodbye to 2020 we had completed one-fifth of the 21st Century. I don’t know why that sprang into my mind, but it did, and with it the realisation that time seems to be flying past me. I’m reminded of the poem by Henry Twells:
When as a child, I laughed and wept, Time crept.
When as a youth, I dreamt and talked, Time walked.
When I became a full-grown man, Time ran.
When older still I daily grew, Time flew.
I’m obviously in the fourth line as time is disappearing at an alarming rate; which line describes your journey?
From talking to people over the last few days, since we entered this third lockdown period, many are finding it the most difficult. Emotionally, physically, socially we are all feeling deprived. Politicians are trying to revive a spirit of optimism. Encouraging people to see the light at the end of the dark tunnel as the pace of vaccinations accelerates.
We are continuing with the morning services in church at present, live-streamed for those who prefer to stay home: evening services are recorded. I’m looking forward to the time we can meet, hug, shake hands, drink coffee, and eat cake together. It’s been suggested the whole congregation should come together for breakfast and spend the whole day celebrating and feasting!!!!!!!
One significant feature resulting from the pandemic is a recognition of what a fantastic Health Service we have. The Doctors, Nurses, Care Workers, and everyone involved in the hospitals and local surgeries have shown us what a jewel we have in our society. Schools where teachers are working hard and struggling to give children an education through the most trying times. Foodbanks where volunteers are working long hours to ensure those in need have the basics they require. Neighbours who previously hardly knew each other now actively working to ensure the elderly or vulnerable in their neighbourhood have what they need.
Let’s pray that when this pandemic is over the good things aren’t lost and communities are strengthened not weakened.
Ecclesiastes 3 is well known for the poem which begins; ‘for everything there is a season….
One line reads:
There is a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing
In the Forces, morale is understood and valued very highly. It is confidence in the leadership, mission, resources, and ability of the people to achieve what is required of them. It is to have the enthusiasm to do what is required and the discipline to do it in the right way.
Serving God in Christ Jesus we have every reason for confidence even when things are tough. The message of the incarnation: God is with us.
One of my favourite psalms is 139. It begins: ‘O Lord you have searched me and known me!’ That is always encouraging to me especially when I go to pray. He knows me and nothing is hidden from him; how easy it is to talk to someone when they know all the facts about me and still love me.
It’s a psalm that tells us to what extent God is with us and perhaps more encouragingly that we cannot escape his presence; whatever the situation.
Every time I pray for the people of OMC I ask that God will help each one of us understand more fully and meaningfully what it means:
‘Emmanuel, God with us’