It was with some intrepidation that I accepted the offer to write a few words of reflection. I am more comfortable with gathering articles for the church magazine than with writing them myself!
But as we face the challenges of the current situation, I find myself remembering that my grandfather succumbed to an earlier world-wide disaster - that of the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. He left behind his wife and two young daughters - my mother aged just one, and her sister, aged four. My grandfather hadn't gone away to war because he was in a reserved occupation as a GPO engineer in Liverpool. There must have been so many bereaved families whose lives were torn apart by this pandemic, just as life was returning to some degree of normality after the horrors of WW1.
Today, as we all have to continue with this strange lock-down due to the present-day virus, I find myself spending more and more time in the garden. I am of the age where all I can do is to stay home and keep safe. But it does feel very strange not to be out and about, other than for our hour's exercise. However, we have been blessed with wonderful weather so far, and I can't help thinking that God has sent us this weather to cheer us up a bit - and it has worked! God is good!
In our house and the surrounding roads everywhere seems quiet and peaceful. We are fortunate to live in such a beautiful area with good walks from our own front doors. And our community is coming together to help in so many ways with acts of neighbourly kindness.
The reality of the virus and its devastating effects continually reaches us via the news and social media. I pray for those working on the front-line, and also for those whose lives are really difficult. Those living in cramped conditions with no outside space, strained relationships, money worries, stroppy teenagers forced to spend time at home with their families, health worries, the strain of not being able to see our loved ones living far away from us.
Here is a song which I find quite comforting when I am feeling a bit low. Josh Grogan singing 'You raise me up':
The reflections here are written by members of our congregation.