It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…
A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
These words written in 1859 could describe today and how many see the current crisis we are in. Before us is a world that seems to know no boundaries, we live a ‘global’ existence with travel and access to things previous generations could only dream about. Before COVID 19, we in the UK had it so good, in fact we still do and yet suddenly our view of the world, the view of our world has changed. Gone is the freedom we take for granted to go where and when we want without restrictions. To visit friends and family and even to go to the workplace; instead we are confined to our homes! For some working from home is welcome, for others it is frustrating, going to work for many is a necessity as they strive to keep the rest of us safe. Thank you to those dedicated people in the NHS, those working to keep supplies of food available and those delivery drivers. We still have the best of times, but our view is distorted by the circumstances we are in. This reminds me of a very well-known Bible reading, 1 Corinthians 13, often referred to as the ‘love’ chapter. In verse 13 we read these words in The Message translation:
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears, and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
I am sure I am not alone in wondering what the next weeks and months are going to bring and probably like many I am given to trying to work out what may or may not take place. That can feel like ‘squinting in a fog’, trying hard to see a way through this time in our lives. But this verse speaks of hope, it says that the weather will clear, and the sun will shine. COVID 19 will at some point release its hold on us and we will look back and wonder at all that took place.
I would like to hope that in that looking back what we see is that through it all God was with us and that we will all have stories to tell of how He has met us during the worst and the best of times. To do that we need to know the assurance that faith in Jesus brings, that ‘joy comes in the morning’ and that He, that is Jesus has promised to be with us in every situation, however big or small, however good or bad.
Like Dickens we can say it is the best and the worst of times. It is the best because we live in 2020, in a country that has an amazing health service, world leading distributions systems, connectivity through IT and social media to name just a few and although this is the worst viral outbreak for generations the globalised world has enabled governments to manage situations with knowledge and experiences being shared.
There are stories of people doing amazing things and some of people being self-serving and unkind but we have an opportunity to show the love that Jesus has given to us, to tell others of the peace that comes from having a relationship with God through His son, Jesus. So, don’t hold back, take this opportunity to give hope to people, a hope not based on world leaders and governments, not based on the here and now but a hope that is eternal as we read in Hebrews 10:
So, let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.
Our worshipping together may be virtual, but I would encourage us all to get involved in all the digital solutions our great communications team have put at our disposal to ‘meet’ together over the next weeks. Each of us in some way can make the ‘worst of times, the best of times’!
God bless you all.