Corona virus covid-19: reflections…

For the time being at least,  we have developed a new ‘normal’ in terms of worship at Immanuel: we are holding one service each Sunday at 10.30am and the sermon is based on a “weekly reflection” that is sent out to members and friends together with our News-sheet.    

We will continue to post this reflection each week, here on the web-site. So please use it for your own personal devotion.

If you would like to listen to the service that centres on this reflection, a sound file will be available on the ‘Recent events’ page from the Sunday afternoon of the date in question.

Sunday 25th October 2020     

 Reflection on Matthew 5: 13-16 Salt and Light

Well….as we all know by now the clocks went back this weekend giving us an extra hour in bed – Oh what joy I hear you say. And I reckon a fair few folk across the land forgot to reset their clocks and in some cases arrived at their destination earlier than they needed to, probably feeling robbed of that extra time they might have spent in sweet slumber. Were any of you in that category I wonder???    No need to confess.

So here we are at the beginning of longer, darker evenings and slightly lighter mornings.

I don’t know about you but I’ve heard quite a number of people saying over the past few weeks that they are not looking forward to this winter at all for all sorts of reasons. In fact, one person said that he was “Absolutely dreading the thought of darker evenings.”

Let’s face it –  many people have had a pretty tough time over these past 30 weeks. And I know that includes a number of you good folk too.

I am aware that the longer period of darkness through Autumn and Winter – coupled with the colder weather and a greater lack of warmth from the sun can cause even the most positive of us to feel somewhat depressed to say the least, can’t it?

But having said that, I believe that as Christians we can help both ourselves and others to be perhaps a bit more positive – more hopeful and even dare I say  slightly more ‘up-beat’ in these times, by shinning what I like to call our “faith light of love” into the darker recesses of our lives. And, of course, I know even that can be a challenge in these days.

I believe that reading from Matthew’s gospel is a very good guide for us all in these times. Jesus uses three examples of what it means to live out our faith and be a meaningful presence in the world.

He begins by saying that if no seasoning is added to the food we eat, then much of the flavour can be lost. The message here is simply that if we as Christians make no effort to affect the world around for good, then we are quite frankly of little value to God. We are the seasoning adding a new dimension to people’s lives as well as our own.

He then gives what to me are two quit humorous examples. Firstly how it’s impossible to hide an entire city that is built on top of a hill and then he says “why bother to light a candle if you hide it where no-one can see it.  It’s no use to anyone at all.” He tells us that if we live by faith in him we will shine like lights….we will show others where we stand and what we believe by being a living expression…a living example of God’s love in action.

Eddie Askew who worked for the Leprosy Mission along with his wife Barbara for almost 40 years, has been offering a ‘Thought for the Day’ on BBC Radio Nottingham for a good few years now and in one of his thoughts he says this:

“They were 2 rather ordinary Vases of flowers. They sat at opposite ends of the table in church. They showed no flower arranging skills whatsoever – they were just simple bunches of single mauve chrysanthemums standing there modestly and quietly.

Then the clouds outside parted and the sun shone through a window high in the church wall. It picked out just one vase. The dull Mauve flowers were suddenly transformed – suddenly blazing with colour – the edges of the petals bright with light. They looked glorious…. whilst the other flowers were still half hidden in the gloom.

My eyes kept moving from one bunch of flowers to the other. “Which was I?” I wondered – the dull, almost colourless flowers in the shade or was my life etched in light?

Eddie ends by saying that in the Gospels Jesus talks about bringing light into the dark places. And that I believe is our task as followers in the way –  in the here a now.

And you know friends with all the many troubles of the world weighing heavily on peoples shoulders we are here to make a difference – a positive contribution through our life of faith. I think what Eddie says in this short reflection links directly into what I’ve been trying to say.

Now you’re a bright bunch…(Did you get the link I made with the vase of flowers) – I’m sure you will want to do your very best to spread the light of Christ…. the light of love and hope…. and joy and peace in your families….with your neighbours and communities……and anywhere there is darkness, where you can help –  through your faith in Jesus Christ to  turn people towards the light.

Oh we can’t solve all of the world’s problems – we know that – we can’t be everywhere – we know that too.  But remember that children’s Sunday School Song – “Jesus bids us shine with a pure clear light – like a little candle burning in the night” –  and it ends with the words “You in your small corner and I in mine.” That’s where we are now more than ever before – each of us in our small corner – let’s light it up with our presence.

As John Wesley says, “Lord let me do all the good I can – as long as ever I can….”

Well friends those are my thoughts for today. I hope you find them helpful.

Eddie Askew ends his reflection with this short prayer which we can make personal and special to each one of us.

“Lord of all beauty, shine your light on me today that I may brighten up the lives of those I meet.” May God bless each one of us on our journey towards the light of Christ.