We’re all living in this same situation. We’re all trying to live our day-to-day lives. We’re all having to make difficult decisions. How does a Christian view what’s going on?
For what it’s worth here’s a few ways we approach the virus:
First up, we’re not surprised, but saddened. Sorry if that sounds glib. Or trite. It’s not meant to be. As Christian’s we believe that the world is fundamentally good. It’s God’s good creation. But it’s become a fallen and broken world. So, we know that we will experience illness, viruses, and sadness. And we are deeply moved and saddened by all that’s happening. It’s affected us personally in a variety of ways. Covid-19 is a particularly nasty virus. Perhaps you’ve felt that sense that this isn’t how life should be? That It’s just, not right? We’d agree. The world is not as it should be. It’s good, but broken. It’s beautiful, but disfigured. All at the same time.
Next, we’re not passive, but active. I hope. As Christian’s we can’t just say “oh well never mind”. The bible teaches us to take great care around human life. To love our neighbour. To take steps to protect other people. To care for the vulnerable and needy in our society. We applaud our emergency services, our NHS, carers, all sorts of key workers and frontline health care professionals and so on. They do a fantastic job. We have a number of NHS workers in our church. And other key workers. Jesus came into our world of sadness’s and illnesses and viruses and had compassion on people. He healed people. He spent time with people. As a church, we’re being cautious and careful regarding all the basics of social distancing, hygiene, ventilation and so on. Currently we’re open on a Sunday for a very short, 30min, small-scale outdoor service. All our other meetings are held on Zoom. This situation is evolving all the time. We may find ourselves closed again. And as individuals, like you, we’re doing what we can to help others.
Finally, perhaps most importantly, we’re not hopeless but hopeful. Personally, I have great confidence in the vaccine programme, and I hope that the lock-down and warmer weather will combine with this, alongside the valiant efforts of the NHS. And I hope the summer will bring better times. But I have a hope that isn’t built on my next holiday, or the NHS or the vaccine or even the total removal of Covid-19 from our lives. My hope is grounded in something much more secure. Something outside of all this. Something much more certain. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus. My solid foundation for life is this: that because he conquered death, I can have forever life. Ultimately that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. That’s what’s getting me through this crisis. That’s something that nothing and no-one can take away.
From The Rectory – A Beautiful Day
It has been a wonderful day. White frost glistened in the golden sunlight. Trees, dripping melting ice, stood boldly against a clear wintry-blue sky. Birds busied themselves, no doubt making the most of the sun’s warmth after a miserable few days. Although the thermometer read zero, there was a feeling of warmth in the sunlit air. As we took our regulation walk, the beauty of it all lifted our spirits, and the spirits of all who we met on our travels.
It is not only the sun which brings beauty and lifts the spirits. In recent days a new neighbour has moved in. Looking up from my desk one recent morning I saw on the drive, wings outstretched and with the sunlight catching on his rich brown coat, a kestrel; just a few yards from the study window. Our seventh winter; and although we often see kestrels in the fields this is the first time that we have seen one in the Rectory garden. He (or she we’re not sure which) has visited several times since then. The kestrel is not the only new arrival. Migrant blackbirds have arrived in force. Every year in autumn, we gather windfall fruit around the base of our mighty pear tree. There it gently ferments until the blackbirds arrive, then swiftly it vanishes.
Now all is quiet. The mist has risen, the sky turns grey and the temperature is falling; night will soon be upon us. The daily news remains gloomy, the depths of winter are probably still to come but everywhere we look; across the garden and in the fields around us, there are signs of new life. One swallow may not a summer make (and the swallows are still many months away) but a day like today lifts the soul. The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. (Psalm 24:1). Thank God that he shares its’ beauty with us.
02 January 2021
At the time of my writing, the Prime Minister has addressed the nation once more and we find ourselves living under further restrictions, with the current advice being to stay at home to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Whilst there is no doubt that in fighting the old variant of the virus, our collective efforts were working, but we now face the added challenge of the new strain of the virus, which is between 50% and 70% more transmissible. This new strain has led to a rapid surge in infections, hospital admissions and increased case rates across the country, including here in Suffolk.
If we are to protect our NHS and in turn, ourselves and our loved ones, we must all play our part and follow the guidance so that our NHS can focus on the herculean task of delivering the critical vaccination programme. It is the vaccination that will finally free us from this virus and the restrictions it brings to all our daily lives
Vaccinations have already begun here in Suffolk and I have been lobbying Ministers and Public Health colleagues to ensure that we have adequate site provision here in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich. Our public health team and NHS colleagues here in Suffolk are working tirelessly to deliver the vaccines as quickly and efficiently as possible, to those most in need and I would echo their plea to ask residents not to block phone lines to GP surgeries or hospitals enquiring about when the vaccine might be available – residents will be contacted directly, in turn, and invited to attend their nearest site for vaccination.
Whilst I and indeed, our Prime Minister, understand just how frustrating this latest lockdown is, it is vital that we all continue to take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and those most vulnerable in our communities and to slow the spread of the virus. Again, I would like to thank each and every one of you who are continuing to play your part and following the rules – we’re all in this together and the sooner we stick with it, the sooner we can start to return to normal.
It is vital that throughout lockdown, we continue to protect jobs and our local economy, and the Chancellor has unveiled further financial support for businesses and individuals. Locally, the Suffolk Support and Advice Line can help with financial and employment advice – 0800 068 3131. In addition, the Home But Not Alone free phoneline, supporting the most vulnerable in our communities is available via 0800 876 6926. Both lines are staffed from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
As your MP, I shall always work hard for the people of Central Suffolk and North Ipswich and if there is anything I can help with, please get in touch via www.drdanielpoulter.co.uk