Pastoral Letter 17th January

´╗┐MISSION PASTORAL LETTER: 17th JANUARY
 

 

The other day, when I joined a zoom prayer meeting with a few friends from The Mission, we were all thoughtful and in prayer, seeking The Lord’s guidance on what we should pray for, when suddenly, on my computer, came a loud fanfare announcing the arrival of “Mystic Meg” offering me the opportunity of having my fortune read! She came uninvited and, fortunately, disappeared quickly when I declined her services. I’m sure that she’s well intentioned and obviously, in these times of great uncertainty, her crystal ball is in much demand, but I prefer to “trust in The Lord” and to seek His face and purpose for my life which means, to a great extent, walking blindly: not by sight but by faith and trust in His promises. “Mystic Meg” does not hold the key to our lives but only God and Him alone. 2 Corinthians 5:7 “We walk by faith and not by sight.”

This is challenging because it means living with uncertainties. Many of the great crimes of history, such as The Holocaust, have been committed when people sought certainties in hard and difficult times, blaming the wrong people for their ills and worshipping false Gods. Rather than look honestly at themselves they refuse to accept personal responsibility and take the easier path which involves condemning others. This is most definitely not the way to achieve peace of any kind but only leads to falsehood, pain and calamity for all concerned. We saw this happening, earlier this week, with the storming of The Senate Building in Washington DC where many people can no longer decipher truth from falsehood in a world in which there is said to be an avalanche of “fake news.” But The Gospel of Jesus Christ is “Good News” not “fake news” in which we take responsibility for our own lives under the almighty sovereignty and everlasting Love of our Heavenly Father who has all things and all people in His hands and asks only that we put our trust in Him, in His purposes for our lives, however long or short, and seek, as best we can, to walk humbly and act justly and in love and fellowship with all our brothers and sisters. Yes, we always have a choice to live differently, but this will never bring us the real peace and love for which our hearts long.

All this, of course, is quite complex and, although true, is rather “airy-fairy” and so let me put it another way: it’s just like when we were small children and we walked alongside our Mums or Dads with our hands firmly placed in theirs. Most of the time we didn’t know where we were going or the route that we would take but it never worried us because we knew that our hand was in the hand of someone who was bigger and stronger than us, and, most importantly, loved us like no other. This is what it means to “walk with God” as we journey through this most difficult and, for thousands of people, heart-breaking time of life. “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For Thou, O Lord, art with me.” (Psalm 23)

Loving Father God is always with you: He is with you right now both day and night. You can never separate yourself from His Love even if, at times, we try. His love for you is a given: it is assured, and it is permanent and everlasting. He will not fail you no matter what happens in the future. You know, we often hear the Christian path, described as walking “the straight and narrow” but in my view this seems wrong because my path, although narrow, has been anything but straight! In fact, it’s been blooming wiggly! It’s probably been “wiggly” because I’ve wiggled around a lot with all my doubts, fears and wanderings. Perhaps yours’s has been straighter but I doubt it! At the same zoom prayer meeting the other day, one of our several Margaret’s described the present journey as being like a narrow path with two great walls on either side of us: the one wall was “Virus” and the other “Vaccine” and these two possibilities seem to hover over and above us leaving us with much uncertainty and anxiety. It is a good and “God-given” picture of the times we’re currently living through and it reminded me of how Moses led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt through the waters of the Red Sea. The waters rose high above the heads of the Israelites on all sides but there was a narrow path that led them through. (Exodus 14:22) You and I are currently on that path: but how are we walking?

I’m trying to walk, not with the predictions of “Mystic Meg” but with the certainty that my hand is firmly in the hand of loving Father God. And what about my eyes? Well, a bit like lying in the dentist’s chair, I’ve got them at least half closed. I came across a quote by the great and former President of Israel, Shimon Peres, who said “there are two things that cannot be achieved in life unless you close your eyes a little bit and they are Love and Peace. If you want to achieve perfection you cannot achieve either of these.” In other words, don’t be too aware of the walls that surround you and seem to be squashing you (you can’t do anything about those anyway) and don’t dwell on your own deficiencies and imperfections because you’ll always have those. Like a child, one faltering foot in front of another and your hand firmly in the hand of loving Father God until you get to the other side. Then we can and will rejoice through half closed eyes.

Yes, many have not and will not get through to the other side, and this is heart-breaking for all those who love them, but they have, and will, make it to that other shore of Heaven where there are no more viruses, no more unfairness, tragedies or loss but only peace, joy and love, experienced and seen, no longer through half closed eyes but with eyes wide open and gazing into the face of Love itself. Our lives are in God’s hands: let Him do the leading. Amen.

 

Here, as ever, if you need me either by message on 07972272848 or PRHolzapfel@gmail.com I’m OK, having a walk most days even if it is with the help of a stick. But it still leaves me one hand free for grasping our Father’s loving hand. Look after yourselves. Keep moving forward a bit at a time. We will get there and then we can rejoice together. Love and Blessings from Peter.

 
Sent from my iPad


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