From Fear to Faith Word on the Week 18th April 2020.
There was some activity amongst the grandchildren this week as Ben put the finishing touches to his bird hide. It had been a family affair and the finished shed looked like it would be difficult to move! However, Grandfather’s doubts were dispelled when Stephen’s tractor attended to the heavy lifting and the hide took up its position at the edge of the fen.
To demonstrate the soundness of the construction Ben undertook to sleep in it! The night passed uneventfully with the larger birds of woodpigeon, rook and buzzard taking to the sky. At ground level one or two snipe were on the lookout for suitable nesting places.
We have been able to hear the bird-song better this year due to the relative absence of road traffic as a result of the Covid-19 lock-down. Last night’s rain, after weeks of drought, has given the birds in the garden something extra to sing about.
The feeding of the breeding birds is almost over. Competition for the fat-balls can be quite intense with the rooks trying to outwit Betty as she attempts to preserve the food for smaller birds. Right now I’d say the rooks are winning!
It was Mervyn Scott’s Baptist Mission’s Prayer News that alerted me to the lock-down that first Easter. The eleven disciples and their friends were hiding in the house with the doors of the room locked for fear of the Jews (St Luke Chapter 24 verse 33 and St John Chapter 20 verse 19). The fear must have been every bit as powerful as fear of the virus is today.
When the Lord entered the locked room his visible presence created joy in the disciple’s hearts. But even after a further commissioning for service and breathing of the Holy Spirit on them their fears lingered. A week later Jesus returned and entered the room, which was still locked, to reassure Thomas who had not been present the week earlier. Thomas’s reply showed that his doubts were dispelled and in his declaration “My Lord and my God” faith was restored (St John Chapter 20 verse 29).
Fear penetrates our lock-down also! The remedy is to ask Jesus for that faith which is not prompted by sight and is available to those who seek it. Then Jesus told him because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Then St John explains in the text the purpose of his Gospel.
‘Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.’
This is the new life referred to throughout the Gospel (St John Chapter 1 verse 4 etc.)