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Parish Magazine Article - February 2022

As I write this, it is ‘blue Monday’. A university professor managed to precisely calculate which day is the most depressing one of the year! This is apparently the third Monday of January every year and it has been given this accolade due to a combination of cold dark nights, the sense that Christmas is over and the arrival of credit card bills with our Christmas spending!.

By the time most people read this, it will be a distant memory, but as I talk to people after two years of the COVID pandemic, there is a level of uncertainty and anxiety, which fuels a sense that our world is out of control. It can feel much the same in church with numbers and activities curtailed in many places and recovery feeling very fragile. Uncertainty in our lives can make us all feel somewhat anxious about the future, and when we feel that we are not in control, that can lead to worry and doubt. Jesus reminded his disciples that God understood their needs.

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Matthew 6:25-27

Jesus teaching is very simple as his followers are to live simply a day at a time and recognise that whatever our circumstances, his love and mercy offer hope for the future. We are called to look for the Kingdom to find those places where God is at work in our world and join in. Even when we do not feel we have anything to offer or the gifts and skills to make a difference, we can pray, and our presence can be a calming influence.

We also need to recognise that ultimately we are not in control. If we call ourselves Christians, then we have voluntarily passed control of the direction of our lives over to God. The Holy Spirit lives within each of us to equip, empower and sustain us on the journey of faith and to be a guide for daily living. Paul understood better than most what trouble and anxiety mean, yet he wrote one of the most encouraging passages in the New Testament.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor heavenly rulers neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39

Given that God cares for us so much, we need not doubt that there is a better future, and our role is to point people to the hope that is within us. We all feel ‘blue’ from time to time, but it will never overcome our hope in Jesus, as Peter tells us in his letters:

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,..”

1 Peter 3:15

Ven Derek Chedzey

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