Posted under The Rectory Bulletin

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. (Proverbs 12:25)

The prospect of a renewed lockdown has prompted no end of articles, comment, interviews and so on. Bad news sells, and it is fair to say that a cloud of gloom has attached itself to the decision. There’s nothing we can do, of course, but nonetheless opinions are shared. All of this brings the stab of anxiety, and uncertainty breeds worry. When all is shifting, you long for something secure to grab, something solid on which to plant your feet.

We are not the first generation to experience the reality of this, and in times past even normal, everyday life was treacherous. Around three thousand years ago, at a time when life was often brutal, this proverb was penned. We are urged to look for the good word, the word which dispels anxiety.

A thousand years on, St Peter counselled us to “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6–7). He cares for you.

Perhaps the “good word” you can cling to at this time is that God “cares for you”. As we consciously place ourselves under the “mighty hand of God” we can be confident that he will see us through. The life of the Christian is often not easy, and Jesus never promised it would be. What he did promise, though, was that it is not lonely. “I am with you always”, he said. As we return once again to our homes, it is my prayer that you might discover this reality. So pray. Pour it out to the God who “cares for you”. Cast all your anxieties on him, and he will get you through.

The Poor in Spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:3-5) - If you are poor, and lack food, your hunger keeps reinforcing the fact that you need help. If you are poor in spirit, then you recognise your need of God. You are not reliant upon your own spiritual prowess, or goodness. You know you are dependant on another. And then the kingdom of heaven is yours. You can only enter empty-handed.

Charles Simeon

Aged only twenty-three, a young Charles Simeon (1759-1836) found himself an unpopular figure. Worse, his unpopularity sprang from his own church. Services were disrupted, and abuse was thrown at young Simeon as he walked through the streets.

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