Thought for the day 11th – 15th January 2021

11th January 2021 – Revd Paul Bettison 

I write this as we enter the third lockdown and I sense that there is a feeling around that we can’t take much more of this.  I won’t rehearse the trials and tribulations that we experience because of the pandemic.  We don’t need reminding, for we know them all too well. Yet, bad though the situation is, it’s not ALL bad.
Whist I’m a stranger to ‘Instagram’, I understand that, at the beginning of the pandemic, artist and poet Charlie Mackesy began posting, on the site, encouraging messages accompanied by illustrations.  They feature four characters: a boy, a mole, a fox, and a horse and proved to be so popular that he published a book that has become a best-seller.  One of the pictures shows the characters as, together, they face dark clouds.  The horse is bowing his head so that the boy can rest his forehead against a velvety nose. “This storm will pass” says the horse.  And so it will.
As we’ve been reminded, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.  Vaccines have been developed and are being administered at full speed. New drug regimes, relieving some of the symptoms, are being employed.  The restrictions on social contacts should bring down the number of infections, leading to both fewer admissions to hospital, and subsequent deaths.
So, the storm will pass, there is light at the end of the tunnel. But what about now; today, and tomorrow?  As Inderjit Bhogal has reminded us, there is light in the tunnel, not just at its end.  And the light is?  An answer can be found in the focus of our President and Vice President’s year.  ‘God is with us’.  Mutual support and acts of loving kindness, medical skills and scientific discoveries, bear witness to that.
So, even in the lockdown, and as we await the passing of the storm, we’re not in this alone.
Our Prayer;
Best of all is God is with us,
God will hold and never fail.
Keep that truth when storms are raging,
God remains though faith is frail.
Best of all is God is with us,
Life goes on and needs are met,
God is strongest in our weakness.
Love renews, will not forget.
Andrew Pratt


15th January 2021 – Rev Paul Bettison 

Despite searching until it turned midnight, they had failed to find him. The inquisitive dog had run off into Cullingworth woods in pursuit of a sight or smell that it found impossible to resist.   Although folk had been calling out his name, the dog didn’t return.  His owner, having heard that the strategy sometimes bore fruit, left his coat spread on the ground at the point at which he and his dog had last been together.  At dawn he returned to the place to find his dog sitting on his coat awaiting the return of his master.
Reading the heart-warming story, I wondered where, were I to wander off, I would return to find my Master.  I say, “were I to wander”, and if I’m honest, that should really be ‘when’.  For sometimes I can, unwittingly, find that I’ve been distracted and wandered away from God. For a while lost sight of the one who I have chosen to follow. How about you? So, where do I return to be reunited?  Where was it that we were last together? Where will I find my master’s coat?  Maybe in a time of quiet reflection, or in an act of worship.  Maybe when reading scripture or walking in the countryside.  Maybe when listening to a piece of music or reading an inspirational piece of writing.  No doubt we will all have a ‘place’ that we associate with an encounter with God.
The wayward dog returned and sat patiently on the coat awaiting his master’s return.  When we return, I believe that we find that God, as it were, is sitting on the coat, waiting for us!  And what might he say?
Our Reflection;
I knew you would come home.
I have dreamt so long that we would meet again,
I never doubted you, I knew you would return.
I have longed to see the moment you would come to me.
I hoped in you, I knew you would come home.
I believed in you, somehow could sense you near me.
I have longed to hold you safe and welcome in my arms.
In the long and silent moments when the stars appear,
to speak the love which keeps you from all harm,
and gathers you and holds you still, guarding you from fear.
And, Oh, I have called in my heart for you,
searching this lonely time,
wanting to tell you that even in darkness our love has grown.
I trusted you, I loved you so,
I hoped in you, I knew you would come home.
Tom McGuinness (Abridged)




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