Happy New Year

It’s a bit late, but as they say, better late than never. I have just had a play with paint to produce the picture for today’s blog. I may turn it into an Artful ELF video – but then again, I may not. The final bit of writing isn’t very clear. My message on the picture is ‘May your 2021 be filled with fun!’ Slightly over optimistic but nevertheless I do hope that 2021 does bring moments of fun as we continue to face this pandemic. Had I given it a bit more thought it would have been different.

Today’s blog is based on the article I did for the local paper: Church corner .

As we approach a new year we leave behind a year like no other.  Often one year is pretty much the same as the previous. But not this year:  2020 will go down in history as the year of Covid.  Many people have asked where God is in it all, or suggested it’s a sign of his anger at sin in the world.  However, I agree with Tom Wright’s response in his book God and the Pandemic

He points out that as Christians we are part of God’s presence in the world.  Jesus said to a group of people locked in and afraid:  ‘As the father has sent me, so I’m sending you.’    Jesus wept at the grave of his friend Lazarus, he cried out to God on the night before his own death and he said blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, those who mourn and those who work for peace and justice.

God’s son Jesus is responding to the pandemic through his church.  We weep at the graves of friends and strangers, we weep with those who weep, we pray and when words fail, we groan in prayer through the Spirit.   And we do what we can to help meet the needs of those who are isolated, poor in spirit or hungry.  Looking back on the last 9 months, I have been encouraged to see people of all faiths and none supporting neighbours and the community.   St Michael’s in Rocester has worked with Renew Church’s food bank to reach out to the people of Rocester with practical help as well as upholding them in prayer.

We face 2021 not knowing how long we will be coping with the pandemic.  I know that Jesus will continue to be with His people as they bring his love to those around them.  I am confident that the reaching out to help will continue when the pandemic is over. As you play your part in being Jesus’ Light and Love to those around you I hope you are strengthened by knowing, as St Paul did: “ I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

I wish you all the Peace of God that passes all understanding in 2021, whatever it brings.

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