Pastoral Letter

Friday, 29th January 2021

 

Dear Friends,

I don’t know about you but I find the months of January and February very hard. The lack of daylight and the miserable weather combine to make me feel like hibernating until the hour changes. And, of course, this year has been much worse than usual, living under Covid restrictions and being denied the hugs of family and friends.

However, there are signs of hope. Already I notice the bulbs coming through and the nights becoming gradually shorter. I am mindful of God’s amazing creation as I pause to listen to a blackbird sing, or watch the squirrels chase each other round the tree at the bottom of the garden. I feel my spirits lift and I know that Spring is on the way. Let’s look out for these signs of hope and praise God for the wonder of all he has made.

And with the promise of Spring, comes the hope that the Corona virus can be brought under control. With the vaccine programme being rolled out and the most vulnerable receiving their first jab, the relief in the air is almost palpable. We thank God for answered prayer; for the skills of scientists who have produced vaccines in record time, for the doctors and nurses whose commitment and care have saved so many lives. We pray that rich countries, like our own, would share the vaccines with the poor, that all might benefit regardless of ability to pay.

And there are other signs of hope internationally. The Chinese government has demonstrated a commitment to tackle climate change, unexpectantly announcing its aim to be carbon neutral by 2060. The new U.S. President’s decision to immediately re-join the Paris climate agreement and commit to going further, offers hope that the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow this year can deliver a much-needed breakthrough. Joe Biden has appointed former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as his ‘special presidential envoy on climate’, a signal that the new administration in the White House takes the issue extremely seriously.

These signs of hope should encourage us; they are to be celebrated and can be a source of praise to God who has not abandoned us, but walks with us through every storm. Ultimately our hope is not found in rulers or world leaders. Although we are called to pray for them, that they would rule with justice and wisdom, our hope is not to be found in political authorities but in Jesus Christ. This is summed up well in the hymn ‘In Christ Alone’, lyrics written by Stuart Townend:

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand

Let us continue to live in the love of God, encouraging one another in our faith and sharing with others the hope that is within us.

May God bless you and fill you with hope. Amen

Deacon Michelle Goddard