“I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121 verses 1 & 2
Tomorrow, so we are told, is ‘Freedom Day’. It is the day when we are meant to give a collective sigh of relief that all the restrictions associated with Covid have been lifted and life can return to something called ‘normal’. Not wishing to be negative but I think ‘Freedom Day’ will not be the day we may be led to believe it to be. ‘Freedom Day’ is not the ending of restrictions, it is merely the shifting of responsibility from the Government making us keep them, to us choosing to do so.
Instead of life becoming simpler it will continue to be as complex as the last 16 months have proven themselves to be.
Last year our Text for the Year was Psalm 121 verses 1 and 2. When I chose these verses little did I realise how appropriate and helpful they would be as 2020 and 2021 unfolded. Throughout last year they gave me comfort, hope and encouragement as we faced the challenges and difficulties of lockdown and daily death counts. The verses continue to help and inspire me even though a new year meant a new text.
Last year was the 75th anniversary of the end of Word War Two. Though muted we remembered the cost of what this anniversary celebrated. We remembered the tragedy and the triumph, the victims and the victors not complacently but determined to learn from the past in how we live today.
As we enter life after ‘Freedom Day’ this is how we we are to live today. We will combine this language of remembering and choosing to live anew in two services.
On Sunday 15th August we will remember the tragedy and the victims these months of pain, sorrow and difficulty Covid brought to us all as we reconnect with Psalm 121. This Sunday is a communion service where the bread and the wine will speak to us about how Jesus himself entered into the harsh reality of pain and sorrow that we all know so well. It will not be a gloomy service but hopefully an honest one for us all.
On Sunday 5th September we will move from the cross to the empty tomb where we will celebrate the wonderful truth that Jesus rose again demonstrating that death, sin and the enemy have been conquered. We will remind ourselves of Paul’s words that we are to grieve, but we are to grieve as those who have hope because we believe and trust in Jesus.
For these two services to be as helpful and as meaningful as possible it would be great for you to contribute. By this I mean I would like you to speak about how you have survived and hopefully thrived during this time of lockdown and now freedom. You can do this either through speaking yourself or by writing it down and someone can read for you. Therefore, please come and participate in these services as they will be very hands on and their helpfulness will be grounded in our hearing and helping of each other.
The Psalmist here in Psalm 121 speaks of God’s power and splendour and our response in worship. As we look up, we remind ourselves of God’s rocklike dependability and reliability. As we look up, we remind ourselves of our smallness of perspective and incompleteness of understanding. As we look up, we see the man nailed to a cross and the one who was raised from the tomb. As we look up, we realise we are not alone but are instead surrounded by a large cloud of witnesses testifying words of life into our lives. May your voice be added to theirs that we may all continue to be a people of faith, a people of hope and, above all, a people of love.