At this time of national lockdown, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and even despairing, especially when faced with a barrage of constant bad news. God spoke very clearly to me at the start of the year from Psalm 112, and I am holding on to these verses:

‘Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
    they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.’ (Ps 112:6-7)

One major difference to previous lockdowns is that churches can remain open for services, and we praise God for this answer to prayer. Corporate worship is so important to people of faith; as we draw together (even when socially distanced!), we align ourselves with God and are uplifted and upheld by His word and His presence. In addition to our in-person services on Sundays and Thursdays, we will continue to livestream Sunday services and will also be holding various Bible studies online, so please do keep checking the website and GPCC Facebook page for further details. Zoom details will be on the GPCC Facebook Group (a private group) and on the church WhatsApp chat. Our next meeting in the building is the ‘Churches Together’ prayer meeting tomorrow (Wednesday 6th January) at 10.30 a.m.

We are very aware that everyone’s situations are different: some are isolated and vulnerable; some will be working from home, while others will still have to go out to work. Some will be juggling work and homeschooling; others will be on furlough and perhaps feeling adrift without the routines and purpose of work. As we consider work especially this Sunday (‘Plough Sunday’), it’s worth reminding us all that volunteering can also continue during the lockdown and that care of the vulnerable and needy can continue. This may be a time to explore new ‘acts of service’, and certainly we can all encourage each other through our personal contact (writing cards, texting, phoning, video calling and so on can be great ways of keeping in touch with each other and encouraging each other.)

For those who are able to exercise outdoors, walking locally is still allowed, and one person can still meet up with someone else from another household, so if anyone wants to meet up with Julie to walk, talk and pray, please let her know.

Above all, let’s use this time to seek God’s face, to read His word and to build ourselves up in the most holy faith, for God has not changed and will not change. His love, faithfulness and goodness are still the foundations on which we can build our lives and He encourages us not to be afraid but to trust in Him each day.