“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants–from this time on and forever,” says the LORD. (Isaiah 59:21)
I greet you in the Name of Jesus who is our everlasting reason for Hope!
It has indeed been an apocalyptic week. It looked like we were watching some action movie in the USA, and it was hard to believe that the events were real. I listened with utter disbelief as people phoned in, to the radio and professed to be Christians calling people to faith in God and a rejection of the Vaccine. Others saying that we must rather turn to traditional medicine. Our infection rate spiked to its highest yet by far but was only a third of what England’s 24-hour figures are.
In the Parish, it appears that far more people are infected and affected than is publicly known and there still appears to be a stigma of sorts. People, it’s a pandemic, it’s more a case of when and how severely we are going to be infected, than if. We need to manage our lives so that we reduce our risk of becoming vectors and spreaders of the virus. We need to act wisely and with concern for others. We need to be asking each other for prayer. Believe me, I pray for you all every day, that God will hold you close and that as you endure your specific circumstances you will hold onto the truth of God’s presence and love. While all of us would prefer to avoid suffering in our lives, our faith does not make us immune to it. Our faith gives us power over suffering, our faith gives us the ability to endure. One thing that will assist us as a community is our testimony of what God has done for us during this time of trial. I encourage you to reflect on God’s goodness and send me a testimony from your life that we share with others to show how God has been faithful as we walk through this valley of the shadow of death.
My friends, as we go into this year it is admittedly, much harder than last, as we have tasted the bitter gall of separation and anxiety and heartache. What we thought would be over by now is in many ways just beginning. Around us, there are so many opinions and worldviews at loggerheads and we have seen the failing of Political Leadership all around us. It is easy to lose heart and hope.
Human beings are the only creatures on earth that can change the environment around them, and we are living with the devastating impacts of our ability to do so. This ability has created a delusion that changing the circumstances around us is the way to happiness. We are not good at adapting to circumstances and changing our behaviour, we see that as weakness, and yet perhaps God is teaching us that what is most necessary is that we change the way we see the world and the way that we behave in it. One of the most frustrating things with all of this, has been the inability to reach out to people and to interact. I feel like a prisoner. And then I am reminded that St Paul, did most of his work as a prisoner. Even Jesus was imprisoned in the flesh, though He was in very nature the omnipotent, omnipresent God, humbled Himself and took on the limitations of the flesh, trapped in a culture, a geographic setting, and time in History. Yet Jesus reinterpreted all those things. Jesus challenged the culture, He reinterpreted the History, He even put the geography in perspective. We are called to do the same.
Do not be given to conspiracy theories and denialism. Do not be given to fear and anxiety.
Commit your ways to the Lord. This year, your hope, your trust in the eternal God, your dedication to seeking the Lord with all your heart, and your untiring love for others, is needed by the world.
Every day is a gift, each morning that you wake up you realize that you have been given another opportunity to draw closer to God.
May God guide you and comfort and strengthen you.
Choose faith, not fear.