Here we are, living through our third lockdown, not the start to 2021 many of us were hoping for. We are feeling insecure and vulnerable, and wondering when it is all going to end. Sometimes we may feel guilty as Christians for having these thoughts, but I say to you that it is OK to feel this way. Being honest with ourselves, and each other, is so important during these months – if we can’t share our worries and concerns with our brothers and sisters in Christ, who can we?
I ask you to reflect with me on one short sentence from perhaps the most revolutionary message anyone has ever preached
‘Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him and he began to teach themblessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.’ (Matthew 5 1-2,4).
We all want to be happy, but life can be hard, especially at the moment. Sometimes we feel the burden of sorrow. And when we feel low, its easy for others around us to say ‘Cheer up’ or ‘Don’t worry, be happy!’ but maybe Jesus is saying to us today ‘No, now is the time to get real – time to acknowledge your grief’. The Lord draws close a broken heart. It is the opportunity for us to invite the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to bring joy in place of sorrow and peace in place of pain. We are all mournful currently, lamenting the loss of life as it used to be – our freedoms restricted and our routines curbed. And it is OK to express frustration, anxiety and disappointment. But His comfort is still available to support us. His strength is still there to uphold us. His presence still guides us, still refreshes us, still encourages us. At some point this week, I invite you to read Psalm 23 and let it speak to your spirit as you hear again the words, ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing, He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside quiet waters.’
And there is still so much to be thankful for, and so much to look forward to. Here at United, we continue to worship via Zoom on a Sunday and enjoy the company of many of our members and those from other churches, and for those unable to use Zoom on a computer, the offer is there to call in by telephone and still hear the service and take part that way. For all others, there is the weekly worship newsletter to maintain fellowship and discipleship.
May you all continue to stay safe and keep well, and know God’s blessing upon you.