In the midst of continuing social turmoil, political ineptitude and personal worry about our immediate and long term future, we are so blessed that we can be confident that our God, our Heavenly Father is never changing and ever present. The Bible uses many metaphors to describe God and we may think of him as our Rock, or Anchor, or Strong Tower – that sense of presence and permanence to give stability in changing and uncertain times. The Christian faith never claims to protect us from experiencing profound and life-changing events, for we are subject to the same rules and influences, hazards and risks which can impact on anyone’s life. But God does promise that through our faith we shall be prevented from falling into despair and despondency which are two of the traps that Satan sets to spring on us, so that we feel abandoned by God and our faith is weakened and we are tempted to deny him.
When Satan tempts me to despair and tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there who made an end of all my sin.
(Before the throne of God above – C. L. Bancroft)
As we face another round of tighter restrictions on our liberty due to the increasing incidence of the coronavirus, we need to remember continually our responsibility to protect and care for the other. The Ducklington Facebook groups set up in March have been re-commissioned to encourage each of us to be alert to needs within our neighbourhood and local community. Those living alone are going to feel more isolated as the social networks which have begun to reappear are once again being scaled back. Every day we may be able to do a good deed that will be a quiet witness as we seek to live out our faith through both small and large interventions. Pray for wisdom and grace as relationships are tested with couples having to filter out which friends and family can no longer celebrate their wedding with them. We may yet have to face this ourselves with our younger son arranging his wedding in May next year.
My prayers for us all that we may use this extended time of restraint to listen to God in our reading, our prayers and our conversation. Share what God is saying to you, that through you, God may speak to your neighbour of his Good News.
May you know God’s especial blessing at this time,
Rev’d Paul Boddam-Whetham