This is the first of a series of reflections that we want to offer to our Church and to all who wish to join along with us. It is always intriguing to me that the Bible, which is an ancient collection of books and so often seems so hard to understand can still speak to people today. The sections I have reflected on today are two of the readings that you would have heard if you’d been in a Morning Prayer service in the Church of England this morning. You can read today’s readings here:
‘18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.’
What a fantastic promise we’re given from the letter to the Hebrews today. God bound himself with an oath and he’ll never change his mind because it is impossible for him to lie.
It all feels very uncertain in our world today. I’ve been ‘isolating’ at home for three days already and it has to be said that the initial shine of having plenty of time to do all the things I’ve been meaning to do for ages hasn’t taken long to start wearing off. When times are scary, uncertain, or just very different from what we are used to, the easiest thing for us to do is to look to ourselves for the strength and the force of will to get through things, to make it out the other side of whatever issue we face – Covid 19 at the moment – and to think about how much we’ll congratulate ourselves when the troubles of this moment are over and things return to ‘normal’. The thing is, the more I think about it, the more I realise that there’s no such thing as ‘normal’ at the best of times, even less so now. This can send me into a spiral of doubt and uncertainty about what’s at the centre of my life. What am I about? What is this life for? What should I be aiming to do with the time I have? Of course there could be not much of it left, so how do I make the most of it? It’s tempting to flee, but if I was going to do that, the only place to flee to that truly makes any lasting, life-giving sense is to flee to God. He is firm and unchanging in uncertain times
I love Psalms. Songs, prayers and hymns from a time long ago, but a time when people seem to be just as disgruntled and discombobulated as we are often today. David writes the one that we have today and he is not happy. Everything is going wrong in his life and, a little bit like I do when I list my various entirely justified complaints to God, my wife, my family or anybody else, the majority of the song today is about how it’s all falling apart, but David is clinging on to God, clinging on to the hope that he believes will see him through. I wonder how many of us feel like we’re already clinging on. Or perhaps we feel like we’re rising above it all, but have a little note in the back of our minds that we might need some kind of safety net if it all eventually goes wrong.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews that the second reading up at the top of the post is from points to Jesus as the proof of the truth of God’s promise. His goodness, or holiness, is astonishing enough, but the invitation that he extends to us to follow him, to take refuge in God and to invite others to take refuge in God too, that is all the more astounding. Who would give their whole life so that others could experience what it was like to be truly free, truly loved, truly the people that they were made to be? As we try and love and serve our families, our communities and ourselves in these testing times, perhaps there’s a moment or two available to us each day to ask the question what if? What if Jesus really is not just good, but Good? What if the hope and peace we’re all searching for is within touching distance? If it was, wouldn’t you want it? Wouldn’t you want it for all the people you are concerned and fearful for and about at the moment? I know I would.
Something to pray for
Pray for all people who are scared and fearful at the moment, that they would have the courage to ask God for help and peace.
Something to do
As you’ve been reading this, I’m fairly sure at least one person has crossed your mind. Phone or message that person and give them some of one of the most precious gifts you have to offer: your time and attention.