I am writing this letter on the first anniversary of the national lockdown in the United Kingdom, which began on 23rd March 2020. It has been a year like no other, an exceptional year in so many ways. Everyone’s experiences of the past year are unique.
It’s been a year of change and challenge in which we’ve had to adapt, to change and try to cope. There has been the loss of normal routines, of not being able to meet and see family and friends, the people we know and love. Some people have experienced immense pressures in their work and others have been furloughed or been made redundant. Working from home, studying at home and home schooling became part of ‘normal’ life for some people.
In addition to these and many other changes and challenges, there has been the concern about contracting the coronavirus, the concern of those who are anxious about their own health or the health of a loved one. People haven’t been able to visit family members in hospital or nursing homes, and people haven’t been able to be with loved ones in their final days.
As we look back on the past year and as we look to the future, I encourage you to remember God’s love and care, to thank Him for everyone and everything that reminds you of His goodness and faithfulness. Talk to Him about what concerns you and troubles you, and about what encourages and inspires you. Ask Him to speak and minister into your life and into the lives of those you love. Look to Him for encouragement, guidance and strength.
The Bible tells us about God’s steadfast and sacrificial love, his redeeming and renewing love. Psalm 136 tells us, in each of its twenty-six verses, that God’s steadfast love endures forever. As we look forward to Good Friday and Easter we are reminded and reassured of God’s amazing love for people, God’s amazing love for you and for me.
Although the Jewish leaders plotted and schemed to have Jesus put to death, His crucifixion and death were central in God’s plan to redeem people and restore their relationship with Him. The angel who appeared to Joseph before Jesus was born said, ‘You are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’
During His earthly ministry, Jesus told His disciples that He was going to Jerusalem where He would be arrested, tried, condemned and crucified. He also told them that He would be raised to life again on the third day. The disciples struggled to understand what Jesus told them. They were confused, fearful and lost when Jesus was arrested, condemned and crucified, and in many ways, they were surprised by the resurrection.
After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples to encourage them, to help them understand as He explained the scriptures to them, and He commissioned them to go and make disciples.
As we live through the changes and challenges of these days, God reminds and reassures us of His amazing love. He invites and calls us into a relationship with Him, through faith in Jesus Christ as our Saviour, where we can know the presence of the Holy Spirit with us and within us. Ask Him to guide you and sustain you, to help you grow and develop in your faith, to help you understand the Bible, and help you reach out to others with the good news of God’s amazing love.
Yours for the sake of Christ
Please contact me (028 4062 2612/07933096720) or the Parish Office (028 4062 2744 /email@example.com) if you or someone you know is ill or would like/requires pastoral support or help.
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