For so many it is quite clear that this, lockdown 3, is the hardest. In part I suspect this is because we are approaching a year since the beginning of the pandemic and know the reality of living with the restrictions on our lives and our freedoms and just how tiring this is. I suspect also, this time it is because there is the promise of something better with the roll out of the vaccine, but even while it is happening around us we are being told, very clearly, with the pressure on our hospitals, with so many ill and indeed dying, we must wait, keep to the guidance, maintain distancing, and live with the social and economic implications for a bit longer. The future looks better and indeed is here in the vaccine, but it is also not yet. It’s really tough,
As Christians we are in many ways used to living with this paradox. Jesus proclaims the coming of the Kingdom, God’s reign is one of justice, mercy and peace, and yet this also is not yet. We are to be Kingdom people, people of deep hope and confidence in the power of God made visible in the love of Christ yet engaged in the reality life. Life in all its fullness is to be lived in the midst of the mess of life into which Jesus Christ is born, and lives, and dies, and rises, conquering the darkness.
Its OK therefore for us to acknowledge to ourselves and others how hard this time is, recognising that doing so also sets us free to look with expectancy to what is to be and then to live well, abundantly, now.
I therefore suggest we have a vitally important role to play as Christians gathered in the church for our nation and world, to weep with God’s people, to encourage each other, to run the race. We know how easily negative words sow doubt and distrust, but as Kingdom people, we are called to speak positively and point to the places it breaks through, in the care and service we see in others, in hospitals, schools, the places of our daily lives. This is especially important in encouraging others to accept the gift of the vaccine. My 82-year-old father in law has received his with enthusiasm and delight. You will know others who have had theirs. I will patiently wait my turn and when it comes, take it with deep thankfulness for those who have enabled it. We need to tell, indeed it is vital that we tell this story of light in darkness, to our friends and our neighbours especially those who may be nervous or afraid.
Encourage one another, build each other up Paul reminds us. Kingdom people with a purpose who know life. The Life I, and Bishop Rachel, give thanks for in you, that we share in our Diocese.
With prayers and every blessing,