“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Perhaps by the time you read this, the sun will be peeping through again, although at the moment, apart from a brief respite on Thursday, my weather forecast app is predicting rain all week.
We had a promise of spring last Saturday. The sun was out, the sky was blue, and although it was still quite chilly there was that freshness that hinted at better weather to come. In the same way, we have been in and out of lockdowns and semi-lockdowns and the decision taken by the government to try now to live with the virus is understandable, but perhaps also somewhat worrying. Stress levels, depression and anxiety are high across the country as people wonder what the future holds.
Yet we have been here before. The country and indeed the world has faced bubonic plague, tuberculosis and Spanish flu, to mention but a few, and out of these have come stories of survival, of perseverance, of heroism and of medical evolution.
We can perhaps take comfort in this as we look at our churches and wonder about dwindling membership and lack of interest in a life of faith in the wider community. The whole Biblical account from Creation onwards is a story of ebbs and flows. The people defy God, as with Adam and Eve, the building of the Tower of Babel and various events in the desert Exodus, and they ignore God, both in the lead up to the Flood and the various events and times challenged by the prophets in between David and the birth of Christ (about 1500 years). Subsequent to that first heady Pentecost, the Church has continued to rise and fall, and Methodism grew up as a movement to spread Scriptural holiness across the land because it was needed and not just because John and Charles Wesley thought it would be a good idea.
Matthew 24:35 tell us that Jesus said: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” As we journey towards another Lent, another Easter and another hope for a more normal summer, we also journey in the knowledge that however confusing, worrying and stressful these times are, God is with us.
God bless, Vicci