Weekly jottings

19.3.20.

Dear Friends,

Those of us who are a little bit older will remember Corona as fizzy pop, which came in lots of flavours and was delivered weekly in glass bottles. One person wrote in an on-line comment, that he had drunk so much Corona as a boy, he was hoping it would give him some immunity now! It reminded me of another drink related happening, when a TV repair man came to our home on a boiling hot day. Rather than offer a cup of tea, I asked him if he would like some iced water. “Oh yes, please,” he said. “You must be psychopathic.” (!)

I don’t need to be telepathic to know that we can’t help thinking about the new coronavirus, Covid-19 just now. When viewed through a microscope the small spikes of protein on the virus stick up like a ring, and so these types of viruses are named after the Latin word for crown. This got me thinking about references to crowns in the Bible and so here are three examples, which you might like to ponder:

“Praise the LORD, O my soul…who ..crowns you with love and compassion..” Ps. 103

“The LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation.” Ps 149

“Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Rev 2:10

While on earth, the Lord Jesus received only a mocking and cruel crown of thorns, but now he is the Risen, Ascended Lord, who prays continually for all of us, and is crowned with indescribable glory and many crowns. Covid-19 will pass away, but Jesus and the life he offers us all are eternal, and whatever happens to us, no one can snatch us from his hand, when our trust is in him.

Please keep praying for NHS staff, shopkeepers, postal workers, local and national government etc, and for each other.

God bless you and keep you.

Love to all,

Hilary.


27.3.20.

Dear Friends,

“Rest assured, you’re in safe hands.” *

When we lived in Knutsford, our dentist for a number of years was Mrs Tootle.

She had a large map of the town on the ceiling, and as patients lay back in the chair, they saw a big red arrow pointing to the location of the surgery, with the words: “You are here...” Underneath the arrow, was written: “bet you wish you weren’t!”

However, as Mrs Tootle was such a lovely person, and a very good family dentist, it was easy to trust her judgement and her skilled, gentle hands to work for our good, even when, at times, we wished ourselves elsewhere.

I am sure all of us wish we were not ‘here’ in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and a national lockdown type situation, as the circumstances are difficult for everyone. The good news, though, is that we remain not just in skilled, gentle hands, but in the very best hands of all, the hands of Almighty God, whose Spirit is not confined. God is at work in the desert places, he is with us and hears our prayers for family and friends, and for all on our minds at this time.

The virus is NOT good, but we have God’s promise that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 Let’s keep praying that Jesus, whose hands are always ready to heal and to bless, will draw multitudes to himself through this crisis, so that there may be permanent changes for the better.

We are already seeing signs of neighbourliness, love, care, and self-sacrifice, and each of us can make a difference, however small. What could your hands do, to bless or encourage someone else? Ask God to show you, if you don’t know.

I leave you with the account of the prophet Elijah, who when he was certain that the drought was going to end, asked his servant to look towards the sea for a sign. “There is nothing there,” said the servant. Seven times Elijah asked him to go back and look again, and on the seventh time the servant reported:

“A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” 1 Kings 18:43-4

Keep on the lookout for the signs, maybe small at first, that God’s hand is powerfully at work.

God bless you and keep you.

Love to all,

Hilary.

*Words from a chair advert, which caught my eye


2.4.2020.

Dear Friends,

“He tends his flock like a shepherd:

He gathers the lambs in his arms

and carries them close to his heart;

he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11

I’ve been thinking about young this week; on Tuesday morning I was delighted to see one of the baby robins fledge from the nest-box in my garden. It has been amazing and wonderful to watch the sheer hard work put in by both parents, and to think that those babies had come from egg to flight in such a short number of days!

This week I’ve also read some accounts of how new (human) mothers are faring in these times, when they may be in isolation and it is not possible for family or friends to visit or help. The good news is that they are finding strength that they did not know they had, and taking comfort from the fact that their babies are unaware of the special measures in place, with one little boy regularly falling asleep during HMG’s daily press conference! The babies when they are not sleeping [or crying!] are, of course, mainly focussed on feeding.

Later on in Isaiah’s prophecy, he records these moving, encouraging words in answer to the people’s fear that God has forgotten them in their exile:

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! (Isa 49:15)

It’s not possible to breastfeed a baby at the end of an arm. Instead, the child is cradled and held closely, near to the heart. That’s how God holds us, too, and he will not forget us during our ‘exile’ or ever. Hallelujah!

Today we send our love and congratulations to Jason on his fortieth birthday, and to Ann-Marie on Sunday, and Adrienne on Monday. Your writer will turn a few years older than 40 tomorrow. I’m sure that we, and all of you are grateful for any love and compassion shown by our mothers and fathers, and especially for the unchanging, dependable love and compassion of our Heavenly Father.

God bless you and keep you.

Love,

Hilary.

PS: I’ve been asked to include an excellent suggestion from Inge Richards that as a church family, we all pray at a set time for God’s intervention in the current crisis. Inge suggests 2pm. It would be good to start with the Lord’s Prayer.


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