Rector's Letter

Looking to Jesus

My brothers and sisters, we have no reason to be fearful. Let's instead fix our trust on God who is both kind and sovereign. He rules over the whole of His creation, and the virus is not beyond His power. The famine in Egypt (Genesis 41) was not outside God's control, and He provided for the people's salvation by sending Joseph. The same God still rules the world today, and whatever threats may face us, we are privileged to know that He has provided for our salvation, in the Lord Jesus Christ. So, "rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! ... Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:4-7)

Don't forget: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4)

We've been reading 2 Timothy as our Lent study. This week we read Paul telling Timothy, "You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 2:1) Timothy faces huge challenges, ones that he hasn't has much experience of. Paul wants him to understand that the strength he needs comes from the grace (ie the freely given gift) of Jesus Christ, and not from within himself. That's a good lesson for us all at the moment. Where can we find the strength to see us through such new and difficult challenges? if we seek them within ourselves we'll soon find our reserves used up. But if we look to the Lord Jesus to provide them, why then, we find that He is the inexhaustible source of all that we need to see it through to the end! Let's encourage one another to do just that. Who have you been able to encourage today?

And finally, a word to ourselves. How are we to conduct ourselves in these days? Well, as Helen Thorne says, we are to model perseverance, not panic. Of course there are real problems. I know a young mother who is really anxious because she simply can't locate any suitable gluten-free food for her small daughter who depends upon it. Shoppers have been snatching it up without realising its importance for certain others. It's a serious problem. There are serious problems all around us. But we'll leave the panicking to others. Here's what we'll do: "Since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:1-3). People will look at what we're saying, what we are doing, and what we are posting on social media. We can encourage trust or engender despair. We must use words well to build up not tear down. Yes, we'll model perseverance, not panic, and so we'll point people to Jesus.

Rob Thomas

© 2020 Trowbridge St James'