What would you grab if your house was at risk from fire or flood – what is most important to you? That question works for possessions, physical items, but what else do we hold onto with determined loyalty whatever the cost? Our family and friends? What about our job?
In times past a job was the stable basis of most people’s lives, something that identified who you were and seldom changed. John the postman. Gill the baker. We knew who and what people were. Has anyone of you ever been known in this way? What about Dave/Anne the Christian? Is our faith one of the ways that we are identified? I have been retired now for seven years, if I had been still working how stressful would it have been, Covid-19 the Pandemic has altered and changed so many lives, so many jobs lost, so much concern for peoples mental health, the massive increase in the use of Food Banks, the list of worries goes on and on. But amid all the mayhem there have been many stories of hope and kindness to others across all communities and faith groups, this has been uplifting to see.
Society had moved on: making new life choices is now common even advisable (in the current climate some of those choices were not what those people wanted to make). Being in the same role for 20 years is a reason to change, not to stay.” I think I touched on this a few weeks ago, I was a production director for a garment manufacturer, when I became aware that I was very likely going to be made redundant, I spoke to the director of the employment agency I used when I needed new staff, he was good at his job, but advised me that I had spread myself too thinly and that only having had one job was in fact a disadvantage. I wonder what those early followers of Jesus felt when he called them from their jobs – fishing and tax collecting – to send them out with the good news of the kingdom. And to people who might reject and persecute them! It doesn’t seem like a good career move. I think I may have mentioned this in another Blog, I remember as if it were yesterday the first sermon I took back in 2009, I was so far outside my comfort zone, but I had leant one very big lesson, when I left the clothing trade for a new job as a compliance auditor I doubted myself, but my friend who asked me to work for him knew a few things, I was honest & hardworking & most importantly could transfer my skills into this new job, it was not easy . But the fisherman & all went anyway, they trusted Jesus, just as we must trust him. In our risk-averse age we like our comfort and security, and we are told not to do certain things (e.g. run in the corridors, participate in very dangerous pursuits – does anyone have other examples?). If faced with difficulties, are we more likely to give up than to deal with them? But the disciples went. Why do you think they were able to do that? How might that apply to and help us, today?
I am very proud to be a volunteer at my local Library, and at Upminster Windmill, these have their rewards, meeting & interacting with different people, reminding myself of my duty as a Christian not to hide away, to take on the task however hard it may be.” You have received without paying, so give without being paid”.
Look back at the picture at the beginning of the Blog: Part 1
Prayers in difficult times
A prayer reflection
It's difficult to live with uncertainty.
However bad a situation,
knowing what you have to face
means that you can start coming to terms with it,
facing your fears,
planning your strategy.
When the 'big picture' is too big or too blurred and indistinct,
it's easier to focus on small details, to try to control what you can.
The world has changed,
how does that affect our living in the meantime?
How do I need to change?
How do I want to change?
Is it possible to live each day as a new opportunity,
while knowing that it feels the same as yesterday?
I need your help, God,
to listen for you in the clamour of voices calling for my attention,
to focus on you in the midst of competing priorities,
to trust you in this time of uncertainty.
Extracts taken from Roots with permission.
All prayers are © ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2020.