๐“๐ก๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ƒ๐š๐ฒ – ๐‹๐ข๐ง๐๐š ๐–๐ก๐ข๐ญ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐ก

The view from our front room window has changed since the end of March. The trees, bushes and flowers have โ€œdonnedโ€ their summer clothes, and the crowsโ€™ nest, at the very top of the tree across the road, is now almost obliterated from view by foliage. We still see crows flying around and perching on the chimney pots, but the young have been born and โ€œflown the nestโ€. People no longer seem to be going on daily walks, as they were then, and the traffic along the road is just as dense as it was before lockdown. On weekdays more children are attending the school opposite, with staggered entry and departure times.
Still, though, there hangs on the railings of the school, the banner painted by the children of keyworkers at the beginning of the lockdown โ€“ four beautifully coloured rainbows on a bright blue background reminding us now as then:
โ€œLook after our families. Stay at home.โ€

As I listen to and talk with people on the phone, I realize how many of us have taken that message to heart. These months have seen people making real sacrifices โ€“ struggling with isolation and loneliness; parents working from home, trying to keep up with their childrenโ€™s education sent to them online; those whoโ€™ve been furloughed, and now wondering whether their jobs are secure or whether redundancy is going to follow; keyworkers and โ€œunsung heroesโ€ putting their own lives at risk to care and display compassion; those grieving on their own for a loved one โ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆ and so the list goes on.
People have shared with me, though, some of the joys theyโ€™ve experienced these past weeks, perhaps doing jobs theyโ€™ve been โ€œputting offโ€ for ages; reading again books theyโ€™d enjoyed years ago; doing plenty of baking and experimenting with new recipes; and more recently, getting together in โ€œbubblesโ€ with families or friends, as social distancing is somewhat relaxed. One friend, in her late 80s, shared in an email that she was appreciating not having to rush through her daily Bible reading or prayer time!!
Many of us have been given the time to relax and put aside the frantic pace of life today, and modern technology โ€“ expertly and quickly learnt! โ€“ has meant that many people have been accessing church services online and enquiring about the Christian faith.

God is always there to share in our joys, and to comfort and encourage us in times of difficulty.
Psalm 62 is described as a Psalm of Encouragement, sung by Godโ€™s people when it would have been so easy for them to despair and seek security elsewhere, other than in God.
Verses 1-2: โ€œ๐…๐จ๐ซ ๐†๐จ๐ ๐š๐ฅ๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฎ๐ฅ ๐ฐ๐š๐ข๐ญ๐ฌ ๐ข๐ง ๐ฌ๐ข๐ฅ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž; ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ ๐ก๐ข๐ฆ ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐ฌ๐š๐ฅ๐ฏ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง. ๐‡๐ž ๐š๐ฅ๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐ซ๐จ๐œ๐ค ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐ฌ๐š๐ฅ๐ฏ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง, ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ; ๐ˆ ๐ฌ๐ก๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐›๐ž ๐ ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ญ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ฌ๐ก๐š๐ค๐ž๐ง.โ€
Verse 8: โ€œ๐“๐ซ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ข๐ง ๐ก๐ข๐ฆ ๐š๐ญ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ, ๐Ž ๐ฉ๐ž๐จ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž; ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ก๐ž๐š๐ซ๐ญ ๐›๐ž๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ž ๐ก๐ข๐ฆ; ๐†๐จ๐ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐š ๐ซ๐ž๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ฎ๐ฌ.โ€

We are not promised that all will be sunshine and joy in this life, and that we will never have to go through disappointments and sadness, illness and grief, but we are assured that God will be with us through them.
Forty years ago this year โ€“ in 1980 โ€“ I was in a different sort of โ€œlockdownโ€ in hospital for seven months when I was expecting our daughter, Kathryn, and the Bible verse which sustained me through those months and continues to sustain me now can be found in the book of Exodus 33:14. The Israelites were journeying through the wilderness to the Promised Land, and God reassured Moses with these words:
โ€œ๐Œ๐ฒ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ ๐จ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ, ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ˆ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ.โ€

As believers, we know that we are never isolated from the love and compassion and understanding of God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ โ€“ always there with us. The Holy Spirit upholds us day by day, giving us the assurance that He will never leave us nor forsake us as we JOURNEY through our lives to our rest, our heavenly home already prepared for us.
John 14: 2-3 โ€“ at the Last Supper, as Jesus comforts His disciples, He promises:
โ€œ๐ˆ๐ง ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐…๐š๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซโ€™๐ฌ ๐ก๐จ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ฆ๐š๐ง๐ฒ ๐ซ๐จ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฌ. ๐ˆ๐Ÿ ๐ข๐ญ ๐ฐ๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐ฌ๐จ, ๐ฐ๐จ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ ๐ˆ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ๐ฅ๐ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ˆ ๐ ๐จ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐ž๐ฉ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐š ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐š๐œ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ? ๐€๐ง๐ ๐ข๐Ÿ ๐ˆ ๐ ๐จ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐ž๐ฉ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐š ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐š๐œ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ, ๐ˆ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž ๐š๐ ๐š๐ข๐ง ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ญ๐š๐ค๐ž ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฆ๐ฒ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฅ๐Ÿ, ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ฐ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐ˆ ๐š๐ฆ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฆ๐š๐ฒ ๐›๐ž ๐š๐ฅ๐ฌ๐จ.โ€