Pastoral Lettter 21st February

´╗┐MISSION: PASTORAL LETTER: 21st FEBRUARY

It’s hard to believe but this is the second period of Lent that has been disrupted by the Virus. Lent began earlier this week on Ash Wednesday and so we are now officially heading up to Easter. Traditionally this is a time of preparation when we are encouraged to “search ourselves” and to re-consider our Christian faith and what it means for us personally: to assess our relationship with God and to remember with thankfulness all that God has done for us in sending His Son, Jesus, to die for us on The Cross and then to be raised from the dead on the third day: to remember with thanksgiving that our forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life was “bought” for us at a very great price. The period of Lent equates with the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert prior to beginning His public ministry being tempted by the devil (Matthew 4: 1-11) It was a time of extreme abstinence and deprivation during which Jesus was encouraged by satan to satisfy his own human longings for food, fame and power and to renounce His God-given purpose and mission. Jesus could instantly have had all these things had He been willing to sell out His soul to the devil and He would have wanted for nothing for the rest of His earthly life: supremely, He would have avoided both the agony of The Cross and the glory of The Resurrection. Equally true, however, we would never have known personal forgiveness and the promise of eternal life: the earth would have remained in the grip of satan and death would have reigned supreme over life. The earth would have remained in darkness and despair, devoid of hope, and, as CS Lewis beautifully put it in “The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe” it would have been “forever Winter but never Christmas!” Thank God, however, that Jesus powerfully rejected the devil’s overtures with those time-honoured words “get thee behind Me satan, for man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God: thou shalt not tempt The Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve.”

The devil was sent well and truly packing, at least for the time being, (temptation is never ever far away) and angels came and ministered to Jesus in the wilderness. This time vividly and painfully reminds us that there is no war that can be won without a struggle: no victory that can be assured without a battle: no gain without pain: no joy and glory of The Resurrection without the agony and misery of The Cross: no new life without facing death. All this is why many people give up things that they enjoy during Lent in order to more fully empathise with Jesus in the wilderness and also so that the sweet taste of victory will taste all that much sweeter as a consequence of having gone without. 

As I wrote at the start of this letter, I cannot believe that this is now the second Lenten and Easter period that has been disrupted by the Virus. I’m reluctant to ask, “what are you giving up for Lent?” when we have already given up on so much during this period in our lives! It’s, as if, Lent has lasted for a year and a half! So much has been lost and so much sacrificed and, for tens of thousands of people, lives themselves have been lost with all the joy and shared love that those lives represented. It’s a time of national and personal mourning but it’s also a time of increased determination to beat this plague on our lives: to isolate ourselves with a purpose: to achieve a vaccine that limits the spread of the virus and its worst effects, and to inoculate as many people as possible as quickly as possible. And, despite the pain and loss, it is a battle that is slowly but surely being won. Yes, the virus may well mutate, just as satan has many tricks in his wicked bag of temptations and inducements, but all of them, without question, will be lost. Jesus was in a terrible state after 40 days in the wilderness suffering deprivation and malnutrition, but He revived, with the help of angels, to continue His purpose on earth and to fulfil His Mission. 

Bromwich Road Mission is not called this by accident because Mission is our purpose: a purpose that involves every single one of us and we shall not be either deterred or dismayed in the fulfilling of our Mission which is to continue our battle with evil, to continue to trust in God and His promises, to witness for the Truth and Love of God as revealed in Jesus, and to worship God and sing His praises. Yes, we may well be scarred but you can live with scars: yes, we may be scared but we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us: we may be alone and separated but we are never apart from Him who loves us and even though miles apart we are united in our purpose of witnessing to and sharing God’s Love. The Mission has not gone away or ceased to exist and even our dear ones, like Betty, who are now in the Lord’s nearer presence, are urging us on and working for us in the courts of Heaven. Angels ministered to Jesus in the wilderness and angels are still ministering to us, right now. Please feel them, know that they are by your side even now, and rejoice as they minister to you. The greater the need, the stronger the presence and stronger the love.

Our Mission remains and so does the power and love of God that has sustained it for so many years and will sustain it for years to come. Thanks Be To God…….Amen.

With much love, thoughts and prayers as ever and know that I’m here if I can be of any help or support.

 

Love and Blessings from Peter

 
Sent from my iPad


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