Chapel Street Methodist Church
Penzance

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Minister's Letter, 25 March

From the Revd Alastair Bolt

Dear Friends,

I trust that you are bearing up during this first week of ‘Lock-down’.

Drastic changes to our lifestyle are almost more difficult than settling to the new enforced routine. For Israel, leaving Egypt and crossing the Red Sea was more traumatic than living as nomads in the desert. Anyway, our ‘Lock-down’ is unlikely to last 40 years!

I hope you will be able to settle to some kind of daily routine. I know that I am having to get on and do a lot of little jobs that I had been avoiding by rushing out to do more interesting tasks. Now there are no excuses for me! A mix of work, rest, and physical exercise can give structure to our day. There are some good exercise regimes turning up on the internet and in the media. Our own prayer and bible reading is really like spiritual exercise, requiring some discipline but greatly rewarding. Your quiet time can be like a work-out, a bit of sweat, but leaving you feeling a lot better at the end of it. I hope you will find time to pray more than normal. Prayer need not be just praying busily for long lists of people and issues. Prayer can be silently waiting on God.

I imagine that you are in contact with many other people through all the modern means available to us. Those of you who know lots of church friends might pick a particular group to pray for explicitly. Do contact me if you yourself are feeling isolated or know of someone who is. At the moment everyone is trying to be very helpful and active, but we need to look at a pattern of support that is sustainable over many weeks. If you do ring round, try to make a note of those with whom you have had contact each day, so that people are neither over-cared for nor neglected.

Enforced ‘time-out’ can be surprisingly productive. Sir Isaac Newton came up with his brilliant ideas of understanding Gravity whilst quarantined during the Black Death. If he hadn’t been stuck in his garden, he might not have been hit by the apple! So, what might you achieve?

These are all ideas to which I may return in more detail in the weeks ahead, but now is the time to make a start.

Many of you have mentioned that Psalm 91 is particularly good at this time. It is worth noticing that the writer is confident in God’s willingness and capability to care for him. We know that God loves us and that He reassures us, but His care is practical. To be protected is a practical action by God. So, let us be bold enough to believe that we are not simply in the hands of the NHS and the Government. We are also in God’s hands, and He is ‘Mighty to save’.

I will try and keep in touch with you by this weekly letter and by preaching a fresh sermon from my home. Many of our people do not have email, or we do not know it. If you are already giving support to someone by leaving groceries on their doorstep, you might print off a hard copy of this letter and put it in with the food.

I pray the Lord’s blessing on you and send you my own warm regards.

Alastair's signature

Published at 12:55 on 25 March 2020

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