Nether Heyford Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul
I am fairly confident that 2020 has not turned out the way any of us planned! In recent months, our lives have been shaped by the coronavirus outbreak and its effects on us, our communities, our nation and the world. Plans have been changed, weddings and family get-togethers postponed, sports events have been cancelled, or played in empty stadia. We’ve been locked down, we’ve emerged from lockdown, we’ve eaten out to help out. And now we face a tightening of the rules as fears of a second peak in the outbreak rise. In England, we all have to stick to the ‘rule of six’ yet some areas face even tougher restrictions. In the Church, we’ve managed to reopen some of our buildings for public worship and private prayer. It’s great to see people again, but things are still a long way from ‘normal’; no singing, masks worn, socially distanced and so on. We’ve also begun to think about Remembrance Sunday and Christmas, for with no relaxation of the rules in sight, those events and celebrations are likely to look very different this year! Wherever we look, the landscape has changed, yet all around us are the familiar signs of how things were just a few months ago, of how we’d like them to be again. As this crisis continues into the Autumn and Winter, with shorter, darker days and colder weather to come, perhaps it’s easy to feel despondent.
In the seventh century before Christ, God sent the prophet Jeremiah to the people of Israel. He was sent to speak to those who were in exile in Babylon – away from all that they loved and cherished. He was speaking to those who were longing for familiarity and normality.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
That is a wonderful promise, one I have reflected on many times in recent years. One I’ve taken joy in, as I’ve looked back at how God has been at work in my life, and in the life of the communities we’ve lived in. Maybe we are frustrated with the way things are, maybe we are looking back to the way things were, but whatever is going on in the present, whatever has gone on in the past, God plans to give us hope and a future.
As these challenging times continue, please be assured of my prayers. If there is anything the Church or I can do to help, support and encourage you, please give me a call.
May God bless you as we look forward with hope and expectation.
Stephen 01327 344436 Mobile: 07511 544375 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org