UNITED REFORMED CHURCH
News from St Andrew’s
Craig’s letter of 4 February
Revd Craig Bowman
This coming Sunday we shall hear a passage from the prophet Isaiah, which comes from a terrible time for the people of God. They had been defeated, destroyed in war and the holy city, Jerusalem, and Solomon's Temple were in ruins. The nobles, the educated, the skilled artisans, the leaders and promising young people, were all dragged off to serve the Babylonians. What's more, the priests and religious leaders had long assured the people that God would never let his chosen people be defeated, and would surely protect the Temple, his dwelling place. So beyond even the physical and emotional upheaval of distant exile, their faith was left stunned, shocked and disappointed.
In their suffering, brokenness and despondency they wondered, 'has God no power to protect us and save us from this? 'or has God forgotten, forsaken and abandoned us in this? In their fear and hopelessness, they doubted their God. Into this Isaiah asks his hearers to look up at the stars and consider the one who created them. The one who brings them out and numbers them, because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing… Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable."
The stars are still there. We have lived through difficult times: depression, world wars, cold war, terrorist attacks and threats, economic stagnation and so much more. And when these things passed and people returned to their interrupted lives, the stars were still there. And so was the Maker of those stars.
The Israelites learned that too, as indeed, every generation must. The prophet reminded them, that the God who created and named all of this vast universe, also had the power to restore, redeem and make right, even from the most hopeless and impossible situation. And, though we may appear as mere inconsequential creatures, yet God tells us that we are beloved, precious in his sight, that God will not forsake or ever abandon us.
This Sunday we shall give thanks for this incredible promise and presence. We will share again in a physical reminder of Christ’s presence among us as we share in Holy Communion. So please have bread and wine or another drink ready if you wish to share in this way.
The service can be accessed by calling 020 3870 2810 or by clicking in the appropriate place on the church website.
This week may find time to consider the heavens and remember God’s enduring presence and promise.
Posted on 4 Feb 2021