“let us run with determination the race that lies before us. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God’s throne. “ [Hebrews 12:1b- 2]
I am watching the Athletics, the indoor championship from Torun in Poland just now. You might think that I have a bit of a cheek especially as running etc is far from my capabilities. You just have to look at my photo on the church website to work that one out. It does not mean that I cannot enjoy watching the endeavour of others and be involved in the outcome of a race cheering on my favourite.
I do like to watch the winners of all the disciplines, but I also like to watch the process of these events, the people who try so hard and do not quite make it. The smartest amongst them learn from the mistakes which leads to improvement and eventually success. We can learn so much from these athletes about perseverance [which we have all needed over the last year] and determination. These two attributes are for them necessary to remain motivated in their preparations for the day of the big event and the hope of medals. These attributes are encouraged by their coach who directs every part of an athletes life and helps them to focus on the finishing tape.
We have had to learn perseverance in out daily lives and for many, perseverance in their faith. When the church building closed it was such a blow for all of us and it took time to get services up and running in various ways, through TV, website thoughts and on-line services. Though we may have been down-hearted and missing the worship and the fellowship there was hope in the different ways we all found to worship. We found that being able to see the sanctuary and hear the Word spoken in these places has made a difference to so many. It has helped us to focus on the Lord wherever we are and to develop our faith as we have the time to reflect on God’s Word and to meditate on what it means for us.
Now so many are getting used to the technology in order to get involved in worship. Just like the athletes we have all made mistakes, lost our way on the search for something appropriate, but with perseverance have gained an ability to find the service or reflection we want from the church site we want. Same for ministers who have had to learn new skills and be prepared to enter into the world of virtual reality and as for myself being brought kicking and screaming into the 20thcentury or even the 21st. Our perseverance in faith has led us to a new way of coming together and has allowed people to access the Word of God who may not have managed otherwise. That is something to be grateful to God for.
We have as Christians out own Coach who has guided us and helped us especially through these most difficult and darkest of times. Jesus Christ our Saviour is the One whom we look forward to, the One whose example we can follow, that of a calm and quiet demeanour no matter what. He faced the most awful of circumstances, isolated when all either turned against Him or stepped back instead of stepping forward to support Him. Falsely accused, held up to ridicule, executed as a criminal along with criminals. Yet in all He maintained His strength and dignity because He knew that He was in the right and He had the vision of the Father always before Him. The most wonderful example for us all to follow, that no matter what we come up against, to hold on to Jesus and the Christian Hope we have in Him. He will bring us through this time and He will lead us forward as we venture in the new world of the New Normal. Let us then continue to persevere as we journey on for we still have to live with the restrictions a while yet with Jesus in our hearts, with Him as our goal we run the race of life with perseverance and determination.
LET US PRAY
LOVING AND ALMIGHTY GOD,
We thank You for the shining example of Jesus in His life here on earth,
We thank You for the gifts of Perseverance and Determination which You have given us in abundance and how they have helped us through our journey in Lock Down.
We thank You for new technologies and how they have brought us together and give thanks for the engineers and technicians who have developed them.
We ask for Your Loving Care for all who are running the race of life in extremely difficult circumstances, with poor health, mental or physical, and ask for Your Healing Touch upon them.
We think of those in the race of life who are facing job losses, money worries, family upsets, worries and anxieties, Be with them Lord that they might find Solace in You.
We ask these things in the name of Jesus our Saviour and Lord. AMEN
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