From the Minister
From the Minister
Just before we went into lockdown, James had started helping with services in the Box River benefice of churches and this has continued online over the last couple of months. This has meant that as a family we often listen to the daily services of morning and evening prayer, where over the past few weeks the readings have been from Exodus and Numbers, telling the story of the 40 years spent in the wilderness by God’s people following their release from slavery in Egypt. It has been great to hear the story in detail and rather enlightening for these current times too.
As God leads the people out of Egypt, he does not take them direct to the Promised Land, but leads them by the roundabout route in order to give them time to learn to trust Him. During this time God is always with the people, guiding them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night; He feeds them with manna and quail when they are hungry and provides fresh water when they are thirsty and He speaks regularly to Moses, revealing the plans that He has for them.
And the people? Well, they grumble! First they complain that there is no food, then they complain that the food is boring and the same every day. They doubt Moses’ leadership and fear that God will not keep them safe and finally, when they do arrive at Canaan, they fail to see the goodness in the land and see only the dangers of entering it. In spite of the pleading of Joshua who says that if God goes with them all will be well, the people rebel and as a consequence are sent back to wander in the wilderness again! In spite of repeated evidence that God will care for them, they refuse to trust in Him.
This has been interesting listening because I’m aware of how much like the Israelites I can be and how tempting it is to grumble in the current circumstances. I have much to be thankful for and yet it is easy to focus on what we cannot currently do. I am blessed with a safe space to isolate and yet I’m anxious about what will happen for friends and loved ones. I know the sense in staying in and safe and yet I want to be out and about. I feel powerless and I want some control.
I suspect that this was the same for the generation wandering in the wilderness and the lesson that they and I need to learn is that God has got this in His hands. I cannot make the virus disappear, I cannot control when it will be safe to do the things I miss again, but I can turn to God and talk to him about it. I can share my feelings of fear, frustration and uncertainty and I can know that God will never leave me, just as he stayed with the people of Israel in spite of all their complaining and met all of their basic needs.
A couple of weeks ago our circuit worship included the hymn ’Trust and obey’ and this is the key to what God calls us to do. We can trust him for our daily needs in good times and in bad and we are called to obey his commands, which are to love Him and to love each other. In the midst of a complex and ever changing situation, this is something that can be our constant mantra – “Trust God, love God and love each other.”
God bless you and keep you all.