Previous letters - 8th May 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope you continue to keep well. It's good gradually catching up with people since my return to work. I've been grateful for some really good conversations by phone and email and it's good to be connected. 

This is my thought for this week:

I saw on Breakfast News this morning that Andy Serkins (famous for playing the part of Gollum) is going to be reading the Hobbit non stop to raise money for the NHS. I love the Hobbit but I don't know whether I could read it all aloud non stop . They say it will take about 12 hours! Will you be listening in? 
Here's a quote from a bit later on in the Fellowship of the Ring: 

'I wish it need not have happened in my time' said Frodo. ' So do I' said Gandalf, ' and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us'. 

According to the story, one must rise to the challenge offered by one's own time. We do not choose the time in which we live. We simply have to live it and make the best of it. It might feel a bit like we're living in Middle Earth at the moment as these strange times continue. How might we respond? I suppose we respond by finding ways to survive. That might include things like doing Skype with family, baking, gardening, walking the dog. And if you haven't read the Hobbit, maybe it could include that! We need these things not only to pass the time. We need things which enable us to cling to a sense of hope. As Christians the strongest hope we cling to is the revelation of Godself in Christ. In Christ, God is with us every step of the way , even through the most unsettling and strangest of times. 
Here's another literary quote from the 'Gate of the year' which seems to fit the bill. We often hear it at New Year, but it seems fitting for now: 

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, ' Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown'. And he replied, ' Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way. ' So I went forth, and finding the hand of God, trod gladly into the night, and he led me towards the hills and the breaking of day.......'

So let us reach for the hand of God and pray for the breaking of a new day. 

Stay safe and stay in touch.
Yours in Christ,