Jeremy Cooke

One of the certainties we have all experienced over the last 14 months is uncertainty itself.

We seem to be coming out of the dark period of lockdown restrictions, but are we? Yes, or is it no,? Cautious optimism, still waiting for the latest data and figures before any further recommendations and decisions can be made. Those with decision making responsibility being fired at from all sides for being simultaneously both too relaxed and and too cautious.

All of this is prolonging the agony for every organisation, company, public body, corporation, sole trader, family, and the list goes on.

As a musician I am acutely aware of the impact on those of us in the performing arts professions, whether in local venues or established theatres and concert halls. Any large scale event relies on advanced planning and some certainty on what can and cannot be done.

The travel industry and major national airlines have taken a huge hit,

More profound has been the overwhelming effect on the health and lives of our many of our loved ones, family members and friends

Our NHS and all who work in it have been tested to the limit, many having lost their own lives

All of this due to a self replicating organism or virus particle which measures on average 1 micron in diameter, or 0.001 of a millimetre. The Covid Virus.

Now that the vaccination programme has covered a sizeable swathe of our population, the scientists appear to have somewhat reduced the potency of this virus. One of our most earnest prayers over this period has been for the development and successful roll out of such vaccines

Apologies if all of the above is simply a brief summary of what we already know and have heard daily droning daily through our radios, TV’s and devices

Looking forward however we all sense that it is not just simply a matter of coming back out of lockdown and all will be well again.
We have, I believe, a desire and need for a period of reflection, taking stock, being able to process what on earth has happened to us, how we rebuild our lives and communities after the devastating storms. For many there will be an opportunity to hold memorial services for loved ones lost during the pandemic.
This is something we have yet been unable to do while the storm still rages and threats of new virus strains emerge.

God speaks through Isaiah 44: 10 the words ‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken’. Again later in Isaiah 55: 6 ‘seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near’

Many people have been seeking the Lord and calling on Him over this pandemic period. May I suggest, when restrictions are finally lifted, when we begin to take stock of the last 14 months, we take up this advice and continue to seek the Lord, who’s love for us cannot be shaken. He can be found when we seek Him, He is available, call on Him while He is near.

Our questions may be ‘Lord, what just happened to us ?’ ‘Lord, what on earth was that all about?’ ‘We did not see this one coming, yet You see foresee everything, how could You allow this Lord?’ Many times we read these same questions in the Bible, from many people. Even Christ Himself , whilst nailed to the cross, cried out to His heavenly Father the question, ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?’

We aim to run another Alpha course this autumn, where many of these questions are addressed, I heartily recommend this ten week course for all who have questions and a yearning for love, spiritual fulfilment and stability in this uncertain world

In our home, for our morning prayers, we endeavour to read a Psalm a day, when we get to the final Psalm 150 we start again from Psalm 1. Our Psalm for the day today was Psalm 46,

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

God’s promise is certainty amidst uncertainty, much of what we have relied on as ‘robust’ has collapsed, much like the ‘earth giving way’, or ‘the mountains falling into the sea’.

God says He is ‘an ever-present help in trouble.’ ‘

Isaiah states..Seek the Lord while He may be found’

In our troubles He is ‘an ever-present help’, He is available, near, call on Him while He is near.

It is said that when disaster strikes, that is when you really find out who your friends are, they are available, they are near.

Even more precious and valuable than the answers He gives to our questions, is His love, ‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken

Praying that you have a most blessed and restful summer break, with your loved ones

Jeremy Cooke, Music Director, St Luke’s Church