Posted by Jon blackwell

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Sandra and I have had quite a few dogs over the years, mainly because we helped in the  training of guide dogs for the blind, by taking a puppy at eight weeks old and keeping it for a year or so to help socialise it, before the real guide dog training commenced. One thing we have noticed is that different dogs suffer from different levels of ‘separation anxiety’. Some dogs, if you go out for a couple of hours, are happy enough to lie around and wait for your return. Others become very anxious and when you finally get back to the house you discover that they have shredded their beds, or worse, chewed your favourite shoes! Whenever a puppy finally left us for its training in Cork, we were always asked to send something with them that had our scent, like an old T-shirt, to give them some reassurance in the new environment.

I guess there is quite a lot of separation anxiety going around these days amongst the human population, and whilst we may not be ripping up our beds, we do pine for contacts we can now, even at best, have only in digital form on Zoom – which is a poor substitute.

Social distancing is hard between people –  but the good news is that for the believer, it is impossible with God. Paul, in Romans Chapter 8 (‘the Great Eight’) says this:

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? ….  37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Christian walk was never intended to be a solo run. We live in community; the Church is a body. We need each other and we miss each other. Yet there are some times when we must be separated. This is one of them. But separation from each other never means separation from Christ. Nothing can make that happen – not even death. Praise God!

As Elders, we do continue to be here to minister to you from a distance, as best we can. Please do not hesitate to contact us through all the ways set out on the Contact Us page of this site. Let’s pray for each other and stay connected.

May God bless you this week as you take time to be with Him.

Jon Blackwell

For the Elders