Chapter 144 [day 231]: Wednesday 4 November
Good morning everyone
We seem to be in a midst of another season of uncertainty in so many areas. This week Karen and I should have been away in the Cotswolds for a 5 day caravan break on a remote farm where apparently we would have been the only campers on site. Then Saturday when we would have been packing some essentials in the caravan, we heard the PM was due to make a statement at 4pm about a new lockdown. 4pm came and went, then 5 and 6pm passed (more uncertainty..) until the message was finally delivered to the nation.
· So that meant our planned short holiday break was cancelled.
· Mike & Linda Smith were due to attend Mike’s sister’s funeral in Norfolk but now can’t go because of the lockdown (more uncertainty..)
· Chris Brookes is due to have cataracts removed today but has been understandably concerned and uncertain of how long she will need for recovery.
· I had been planning the service for Remembrance Sunday to be both live and available online for the 11am silence, but it looks that places of worship will remain closed for at least the next 4 weeks but there’s even uncertainty about how long this lockdown will last.
· We know the latest lockdown comes in from tomorrow but there is still uncertainty about how long we will be under the restrictions
· And at the time of composing this email, the world remains uncertain of the outcome of the American election
Life is uncertain but God is not. We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we do know who holds tomorrow. No matter what happens, God has the whole world in his hands. But that doesn’t mean that life won’t have troubles and uncertainty. As Christians, this truth that God is in control should dictate how we respond to uncertainty and crisis and it’s amazing how instinctive this can be at times.
In April 2019 we screened the film ‘Sully’ at our Mainly4Men group which tells the true story of the passenger aircraft that had to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River in January 2009. Captain Sullenberger or "Sully" as they called him did an amazing job bringing everyone down on the river without loss of life.
After the rescue, interviewing the crew about the incident, one of the flight attendants was asked, "so what was everyone doing as the plane was going down?" She replied "everyone was praying"
Now how did that happen? Did the captain make and announcement "This is the captain speaking...in preparation for a crash landing into the Hudson River, we encourage all of you to get into groups and pray that God will intervene in this catastrophe. No one told them they should pray - they just did.
In times of uncertainty, people do things instinctively because in our hearts we know that God has the whole world in his hands. Politicians are often heard saying following a terrible incident ‘our thoughts and prayers are with the family.’ But why would they say this when we imagine that praying is not one of their regular habits?
What the world needs is hope, and we often sing – In Christ alone my hope is found.
You will all be familiar with the Rodgers & Hammerstein song from Carousel; and I imagine Lynne, Marilyn and Iris will have sung this in their performances
When you walk through a storm hold your head up high
and don't be afraid of the dark.
At the end of the storm Is a golden sky
and the sweet silver song of a lark.
Walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain,
tho' your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart
and you'll never walk alone,
you'll never walk alone.
The song encourages positive thinking which the Bible describes as ‘faith’. Without faith we can do nothing that pleases God, but faith breeds hope, and hope drives us forward.
Faith is a sure confidence of things that are hoped for, and a certainty of things that are not seen.- Hebrews 11:1
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. - Joshua 1:9
Hymnalong for today >>> EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE
As mentioned above, the Chapel will remain closed for at least the next 4 Sundays but we will endeavour to provide ‘virtual services’ online as we did from March to September. This coming Sunday is Remembrance Sunday so you will be able to share a video version of our 2019 Remembrance service. The link to this service will be emailed to everyone around 9am Sunday morning and if you are able to start watching as near to 10:30am as possible, then the 2 minute silence should come very close to 11am.
Enjoy the rest of today and don’t let the new lockdown rob you of your hope in Christ alone