Well it’s clear that we are in for a difficult and taxing few weeks as we get used to life in lockdown once again. I am very conscious of a renewed need to be praying particularly hard for our NHS and all those on the frontline who are facing up to the full horrors of Covid on a daily basis. I don’t use that word lightly either. Having recently spoken to a friend who is an ITU nurse it is clear what a hugely demanding time this is for all our medical staff and healthcare workers. If we are struggling to pray or struggling to find the words to adequately convey our thoughts at this time let me commend this prayer to you. It was issued by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York at the time of the second lockdown back in November:
at this time of crisis
when so many are suffering,
we pray for our nation and our world.
Give our leaders wisdom,
our Health Service strength,
our people hope.
Lead us through these parched
and difficult days
to the fresh springs of joy and comfort
that we find in Jesus Christ our Lord.
As we pray for others how do we keep our own spirits up as we hunker down in our homes and wait for a brighter day to dawn? I guess we’ll all have our own disciplines, routines and coping strategies that help us at such a time as this. Never has a ‘rule of life’ as the early church fathers used to call it seemed as important as it does now. I think it is crucial that we maintain a regular pattern of prayer and bible reading, that we exercise as and when allowed, and that we keep in close contact with friends, family and neighbours as best we can. We can be truly grateful that in this digital age the means of communication now open to us far surpasses anything that has ever been before. It doesn’t need to be complicated either. Who can put a value on the worth of a phone call made to a friend in this time of need?
Printed up on the wall of my study I have a little saying of four words that encourages me every day. It simply says, ‘This too shall pass’. You are probably familiar with it. It is a saying that has been attributed to various people over the years but let that source of all authenticity, truth and knowledge, ‘Wikipedia’ tell us more about it! It says this, and I find it helpful:
“This too shall pass” is a Persian adage translated and used in multiple languages. It reflects on the temporary nature, or ephemerality, of the human condition. The general sentiment is often expressed in wisdom literature throughout history and across cultures, although the specific phrase seems to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets.
It is helpful because it reminds us that whatever we are facing now truly will one day pass. All is temporary and even Covid 19 will in due time have had its day. Let’s keep praying for that day to hasten and let’s do so as we look to the one who truly stands over all things temporal and transient, the Lord Jesus Christ – he stands with us always and forever and he is going nowhere! Be encouraged, strengthened and comforted by that. Another favourite bible verse of mine is found in Psalm 46:10 Let me quote just the first line of that verse, ‘Be still and know that I am God …‘ What a reminder to us all at this most difficult of times. In the quietness we can know for certain that God is God and we can trust him. He is with us and he will not let us go. May that be our testimony as we look to God to lead us through these troubling days.
Every blessing James
Revd James Russell