But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today’

Dear friends,
Several times recently we have heard people complaining that they have no idea what day it is. It’s hardly surprising given our current circumstances, as most of our usual activities are not taking place right now, and our diaries are blank because nothing new is scheduled. Our first thought on waking is ‘what day is it?’, because until we have established where we are in the week, we feel adrift and without helpful markers to get us through the day. Thankfully there are some events in our church calendar which have remain fixed, even if they are in a different format, so that we can still look forward to a new service on Sundays, home groups on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and Messy Church on the second Sunday of the month. Foodshare still gives out food parcels on Thursday afternoons; and if you are very small, Noah’s Ark will still provide you with stories and songs on Friday morning. These vital works of our church have not failed throughout the last ten months, and we are grateful for the continuity they provide, as well as for their joy and service to our community.

Even so, we are very aware that all of us are finding the continuing lack of everyday encounters difficult to handle. It has been a very long time since we sat in Costa with a friend and enjoyed conversation over our coffee, and even our regular Sunday morning virtual catch up can’t quite compensate for the pleasure of going out and having our tea and cake made for us! Our days have morphed and merged, so that we are all bewildered and a little lost, trying to find shape and form in a constantly changing landscape and finding at the end of another long day that very little seems to have been achieved.

It is enormously reassuring to remember that God is not affected by our notion of time and space as ‘with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day’, so He is not going to be confused and disorientated by the lack of routine which we seem to find so necessary. Instead, He provides us with the rhythms of the seasons, ‘summer and winter, and spring time and harvest’, and the slow but inexorable change to our hours of daylight, which are thankfully increasing at this time of year, so that the steady beat of life goes on in spite of the disruption to our busy lives which this pandemic has brought. As each new day dawns, it is good to give Him thanks for another sunrise, even before we try to remember which day of the week it is, and to recognise that however long the hours feel, they are a gift from God and are worthy of our praise and thanks. Let us also remember that He tells us to encourage each other daily, so please take every opportunity to do just that (the new Wednesday afternoon online group which Jenny has recently started is a very good way to share one of those long hours), so that this season will be one we remember for its daily opportunities for warmth, growth and developing relationships, and not just for its difficulties.

With our love and prayers,
Matthew and Pauline