‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face towards you and give you peace.’ Numbers 6:24-26
I like the idea of the Lord making His face shine on me. This means He will be showering me with blessings. He will also be turning His face towards me; therefore i will receive the warmth of His smile.
We are in a period when we can’t smile. Well, we can smile but no-one will see it because of our masks. So we have to make our lips smile as we say kind and helpful things to people. We can make our eyes smile so that they shine out Your love. But what we really need is smiling hearts, then we will radiate smiling all round.
At this stage everyone has to learn more technology to stay in contact with the rest of the world. For some people it is a very steep learning curve. I haven’t quite mastered the ‘mute’ and ‘unmute’ button on Zoom meetings yet. It always seem to be the opposite to what I want.
In one meeting the comment was made, ‘Carol we can only see the back of your coffee table, we want to see your face.’ Clever people will know exactly what I did wrong.
As we become older we are more unwilling to learn new things But what about the things God is trying to teach us. God is definitely sending out messages during this pandemic. Are we spending time to discover what the messages are? They will be different for each once of us.
‘Let the wise listen and add to their learning and let the discerning get guidance.’ Proverbs 1:5
On this day back in 1866 Beatrice Potter was born in the south of England. She became a writer, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist. Wherever you live in the world you may have heard of some of her creations with fanciful names like Jemima Puddleduck or Squirrel Nutkin.
Her characters and illustrations have walked out of many of her books, still in popular demand today. She moved to the Lake District which was the inspiration for many of her stories.
As a conservationist she bought much land in the area and farmed in a responsible way. She helped to form the National Trust which cares for areas all over the country. The beauty of her surroundings can still be seen today and is still being preserved.
No hugs. No handshakes. For the foreseeable future this will be the norm. Maybe we never appreciated the human touch before. There was the cuddle when the youngster grazed their knee. There was the lovers’ embrace and kiss. A pat on the back saying ‘well done,’ was welcome and encouraging.
Now for a while we have to keep our distance. This is right and sensible. By being diligent we will overcome this virus. Though touching will eventually make a welcome return.
Touching was part of the agenda for Jesus. In the book of Luke we read ‘People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have Him touch them.’ After the resurrection of Jesus He invites his disciples to touch Him, ‘It is I myself! Touch me and see.’
In Matthew we read ‘People brought all their sick to Him and begged Him to let the sick touch the edge of His cloak and all who touched Him were healed.’ Then the woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years said to herself ‘If I only touch His cloak, I will be healed.’
Today the touch of Jesus is demonstrated by our caring and sacrificial medical staff.
Because of the pandemic in my country, England, it is becoming compulsory to wear face masks. There had been much debate about their effectiveness. Many of your countries have been way ahead of us.There is still discussion as to whether we are protecting ourselves or others.
I am very happy to mask my face as I am old enough to remember owning a gas mask during WW 2.
But we also need to consider the virus that comes out of all our mouths – hateful words, gossip, slander, sneering, rumour, lies and so on. These are a virus which hurt and wound. We also need protection from these words which are directed at us.
‘With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s image.. Out of the same mouth come forth praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.’ James 3:9-10
During this pandemic many of our wonderful medical staff have died. Not many of you will know the name of Cecilia Fashanu but she was a nurse in our local hospital. She has been described as passionate, caring, gentle and meek. Not a bad obituary. She was 63 years old and had trained in Nigeria.
Her son has described her as ‘the centre of gravity’ and she had ‘patience for all the patients.’ He also said that only their faith in God has kept them going. We do thank God for all the Christian medical staff that we have. Some have paid the ultimate sacrifice and we owe them a debt we can never repay
‘She is worth far more than rubies.’ Proverbs 31:10
This week I climbed a small Wainwright. OK it was only a tiny one, number 192. Going up there was a slight drizzle; not good for me wearing glasses. It was not possible to see the top because of the mist. When we did reach the top we couldn’t see where we’d come from.
Then we were assailed by the strong wind but we found shelter to eat a snack and after photos to record the climb we turned to come down. The photos emphasised the inclement weather.
As wedescended out of the mist the weather changed. We could see our cars in the valley and two of the local lakes. By looking hard we could see the Solway and Scotland. Then the mist moved obliterating that view and revealing another. Mist was on the move all the time.
It was my friend who pointed out how like life this was. Sometimes we are in the mist; surrounded by problems and not seeing a way out. Then we see a ray of sunshine and life becomes easier. Weather and life do not stay the same. We can be on the mountain top of life or down in the valley.
It is then, and always, that we need our God. He is not like the swirling mist; He is like the solid rock beneath our feet. “On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.”
We have recently celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale as we also celebrate the 75 years of the N.H.S.
Described as the Lady with Lamp because she carried a lamp as she visited the injured soldiers of the Crimean War, she elevated the status of nursing as she wished it to be ‘a profession for ladies of excellence.’
What is not so well known is the fact that at the age of 17 she received a call from God to be a nurse. Everything she did for the sick she likened to the equivalent to being in a church serving God. She urged her nurses to be Christlike in everything they did.
Her dedication didn’t stop at the end of the Crimean War; she continued in her task for another 50 years.
A 46 sq foot stained glass window is being designed for Romsay Abbey commemorating her life, bearing the words ‘Lo, it is I.’ Also included in the window are the words from Isaiah, ‘Here I am Lord, send me .
Great Britain – 15 weeks and counting. For some people living under lockdown is improving but for others maybe the bad times are still to come. Hang on to your love of God, He will guide you and direct you. As we have proved nothing else is completely dependable.
‘Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life, that the Lord has provided to those who love Him. ‘ James 1:12
In my country we are in week 15 of lockdown. Life has been difficult for everyone in different ways. No-one knows when things will be back to normal, whatever normal will be. So we just need to hang there, looking more to God and His wisdom. He will see us through.
‘Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.’ James 1:4