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March 17, 2020

Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10;

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In a moment, it seems, our world as we have known it, has been turned upside down, and inside out. We are left reeling, shaken with uncertainty for the days ahead – even for tomorrow. I certainly found the cancellation of Sunday services to be akin to severing a tie with community as we have known it. As Dianne said to me, ‘Who would have thought we would give up going to Church for Lent!”

However, when we take a breath, and most will have time to consider where we are, we cannot and must not forget we are the people of God. We have and know a God, our Father, who is Lord of all Creation.

As I had prepared for last Sunday’s teaching, who would have thought that a virus so small could ‘upset‘ the well-being of the whole world. And then I thought of the access we have to God in prayer – and began to considered what He can do, will do, with all our prayers in such a time as this.

There is much to consider and I want to encourage us all in God’s gifts of Faith, Hope and Love.

Faith to maintain, even increase (through exercise); by keeping God centred in our lives. Many of us will have more time to pray, to explore our prayer life, and wait upon God for inspiration and encouragement. As we continue to travel through Lent with our Lord, may we remember that He promised (first) to be with us, always; even in the valley of the shadow of death; never to forsake us. That is a promise for all the days this trial – and that will continue beyond.

When we look to God, through the Cross of Jesus (since it is Lent), may we be reminded of our inheritance in the Gospel. We are invited to know the fullness of life now, and the assurance of life eternal. We have a certain Hope that many in the world now crave. And we can share that hope, the reason for our hope, in the days ahead with others.

Most of all, we have God’s Love; revealed to us in Jesus, constantly reminded by the indwelling of His Holy Spirit in every one of us. Such love is our assurance that we belong to God. And it is so precious because of all we know and possess. We can share such love with others. And that may become one of the most precious and potent actions for this present age.

Leaving the church building for now puts us, the living church, in the midst of the communities we live in. Yes, physical contact is discouraged. However we have our phones, emails, snail mail, and perhaps other ways of communicating yet to be discovered. How shall we now live in these times?

We are to exercise our faith- ‘holdfast to that which is good’. We are to live in hope – fix our eyes on what is unseen. And share the love of Christ, in the strength that God will provide for these times.

Pray for one another; pray for our community; pray for the wider world; for all our needs at this time.

'Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.' Psalm 46:10;

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name: you are mine. Deut. 43:1