Robert Writes...

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At times I get overwhelmed by the amount of news bombarding us. I do like to be well informed and kept up to date. It's when Journalists ask the same questions over and over and receive the same answers. I get 'news fatigue'

I read recently something by a writer called Lori Wagner that caught my attention she said "We can't see it, we can't feel it, we can't hear it, we can't touch it and yet, we have been confined to our homes for fear of the Coronavirus." It is so true, but when we look around on TV and social media, we see that this invisible 'force' has changed people and the way we live.

I have been very impressed by the way that this situation has brought the best out in people. The expressions of thanks for our amazing NHS and ALL the unsung heroes who are giving their time, their skills and even their lives to help and heal people and to keeping our world going. Those who make us believe in life and future while we are surrounded by the threat of disease.

Our Churches haven't been able to celebrate in the traditional way but have been inventive in trying new ways in sharing the Easter story. Reading the account in the gospel of John it tells us that the disciples were 'locked away'. They didn't know who to trust. Judas Iscariot had betrayed Jesus for silver! Simon Peter had denied knowing who Jesus was. They were disillusioned with life. The air had gone out of their balloon and they sat defeated, not sure what to do next. Then Jesus appeared among them within the locked room. And their lives suddenly changed, they were knocked for six. Their mission was revitalized. It taught them the value of faith, not in themselves, not in their world but something beyond themselves, in God and in the risen Jesus.

We don't truly change until change is forced upon us. This virus is changing the world as we know. We will never be the same again; it will always be a reference point. In years to come we will say "Do you remember in 2020?" I am thankful that the human spirit rises to the occasion when threatened or trampled. And God's spirit infuses us with life, hope, love and compassion and even peace at the times when we most grieve. It's at times like these that we realise that our most valuable commodity is not gold or money but faith in God and in ourselves, in our families, friends and communities. Relationships are everything.

The Easter lockdown experience changed another of the disciples. The one who unfairly is given the name 'Doubting Thomas'. He wouldn't believe until he saw evidence of the nail marks in the risen Jesus. Eventually, he was given the opportunity to see the nail marks and he believed and said "MY Lord and my God"

We may not see God around us. We may not see the wounds in Jesus' hands and side the way Thomas needed to see. We may not hear Jesus' voice in real time.
We may not see him face to face in the way his disciples did when he walked this earth so long ago. But that doesn't mean his power isn't there.

Like our invisible virus, Christians believe that his power is there in the most astonishing, loving, healing, creative ways we can possibly imagine! God is still doing miracles all around us in a world united against a common foe. In this Easter season may you continue to be uplifted and encouraged and may God's blessings be upon you.


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