Regular message from the Minister at Almondbury Methodist Church
Message from our Minister - Revd Tim Francis

Dear friends

I never thought I’d ever get addicted to Homes under the Hammer. I never thought I’d be so anxious to have the bleach bottle readily to hand as I obsessively and regularly bleach the doorknobs, bleach the house keys, bleach the banister, bleach the milk bottles and bleach the cat….if we had a cat! And I never thought that the government would ever make us all pass by on the other side whenever we venture out. But then these are unparalleled times (I’ve searched to find another word for unprecedented!)

So how are we getting on with this prolonged lockdown? How are we spending our time when we have had our fill of daytime TV and catch up? Many people are turning to poetry for solace and inspiration during this trying time, and I too have dusted down one or two volumes from my bookshelf and spent a few idle hours browsing them. I’ve been particularly touched by, “The Darkling Thrush”, by Thomas Hardy, a poem hitherto unfamiliar to me. The poem describes the dreary, bleak winter landscape which is transformed by the bright, optimistic singing of an aged thrush whose song lifts the spirits and offers unexpected hope of better days to come. It’s a poem which, of course, resonates with our time and brings to mind the Eastertide hope we have as Christians that in the Resurrection, nothing can separate us from God’s love in Jesus.

We are all touched and moved by all the acts of heroism, courage, self-sacrifice and kindness that we are hearing about, and heartened by the knowledge that such a time as this brings out the best in people. Some of us may feel helpless that we can do so little to play our part, especially if we are of an age or have underlying health issues which means that we have to isolate ourselves. Some of us may have feelings of guilt that we have to rely so much on others to help us when our natural inclination is to help others. When such feelings arise in us we need a dollop of grace. “Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too,” goes the line of a well-known hymn.

Of course, there are things that we can do in addition to standing on our doorstep each Thursday evening and joining in with the national Clap for Carers. We can resolve to make at least one phone call each day to someone who lives alone. Some of us may be in a position to draw up a list of what we are not spending money on during this time of lockdown and, as an act of gratitude and thanksgiving, send donations to charitable organisations, many of which are struggling for funding at this time. Our church is also a charity and currently missing valuable income from lettings. We can all pray.

Eventually life will return to what may be a new normal and the challenge will be to adapt to it. Hopefully the world will emerge a better place. In the meantime may we continue to pray, be patient, be thankful, love like Jesus and……… wash our hands like Pontius Pilate!

Yours in Christ

Revd Richard Oldroyd

Acting on behalf of Revd Tim Francis while on sabbatical.

Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen.


Revd Tim Francis is writing a daily blog. If you wish to follow his blog the link is:
Revd Tim Francis Daily Blog
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