It is mid-February, and the weather forecast tells us of a very mild spell coming in the next couple of weeks. Having just gone through a period of heavy frosts and very cold nights, this is something of a relief, especially when striving to survive with thermostats in the house turned down lower than usual.
Sadly, there is not much to warm the heart in the news either as we continue to live beside the trouble in the Ukraine, admiring the fortitude and courage of the people there who stive to maintain their life in their homeland in the face of Russian aggression and occupation. It is extraordinary how this latter persists when we hear news of the numbers of young Russian soldiers who are losing their lives in this war.
Having become accustomed to the news from Central Europe we now have to open our eyes wider to encompass the dreadful natural disaster of earthquake in Syria and Turkey. Nothing can truly challenge the imagination more than the concept of one’s entire world being literally shaken to bits. I recall an earthquake we had in Norfolk a few years ago; I woke up to the bed shaking, and I thought it was just a lorry going down the road over the speed bumps, but I was a bit startled when it went on much longer and discovered the reality of the event on the News.
With a death toll as I write of over 41,000, the cost of this natural disaster is immense, not counting the destruction of property, homes, means of livelihood, and so on.
It is difficult to think of a God who cares when faced with such events. Some say it is fate, part of some great global supernatural plan, but I find that that is a challenge to accept, knowing that God gave that greatest gift of all to his creation: Free Will.
We do believe we have a caring and loving God who gave mankind all of Creation to enjoy and use to its benefit. We know that to assure mankind of that love God became one with mankind in Jesus. Our God has lived the human life and it is truly reassuring that the risen Lord is still present in this life, still loving, still caring and still living alongside those who suffer.
As Easter approaches it is helpful to remember that at great cost, God came to redeem mankind from all his shortcomings, and that is always a cause for great thanksgiving and joy.
Have a good spring!
Let us pray--
God of compassion, you keep on loving us when we go astray, and in your great gentleness call us back to yourself.
Have mercy on us when we fail you through cruelty or laziness or lack of self-control, and as you forgive us, help us to forgive ourselves and to dedicate our lives to your service and the service of others, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God of compassion, in whose love our life is renewed, our faith is restored and our service is strengthened, open our hearts this Lent to your transforming call.
Take from us all that is untrue, all that is selfish, all that is cruel, and fill us with your kindness, that our hearts of stone would become hearts of flesh, rich with possibility for the creation of a better world, in Jesus Christ our Lord.