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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

20 May 2020: John Powell, Petersfield Methodist Church

Don't waste the opportunity

Lockdown has been upon us for nearly two months now. It came as a big shock. “Unprecedented” is the sort of word that has been bandied about. But is it? I have memories, as a small boy, going on the occasional train journey, and finding the former pictures of popular resorts replaced by slogans such as “Is your journey really necessary?”, and “Careless talk costs lives”… effectively lockdown on travel and free speech.

The present pandemic is causing immense hardship around the world. Millions have been hit by fear, by illness, by loss of friends and family, and tens of millions hit by loss of status, employment, and income. The damage done by the pandemic is incalculable. Recovery will take a very long time. The world will never be quite the same. Yet there are rainbows all around us! In the Bible, the rainbow was God’s sign of hope to Noah after the flood, and it remains as God’s symbol of hope for us all today.

But lockdown does not stop good things happening. We see it today in so much sacrificial care provided in our neighbourhoods, and by our NHS, the support services, and so on. We have so much to be thankful for.

Going back in time, it was while he was in prison that John Bunyan wrote ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, a book that has had a profound influence on peoples’ lives around the world for hundreds of years. It was while imprisoned that the Apostle Paul wrote many of his letters, that have been such foundational reading for Christians for nearly 20 centuries. It was while in ‘lockdown’ on a prison island that St John wrote the Revelation, the last book of the Bible, with its immensely positive message of a new heaven and a new earth, where there will be love, perfection, and peace.

Lockdown sure is tough; but let us not waste it! Let us give thanks to our Maker for His long-time provision for us through His Son, the Lord Jesus, and let us seek to serve our Heavenly Father in whatever ways we can.

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