We have today started a new nationwide lockdown as we try once more to get the Coronavirus under control, staying at home, saving lives and protecting the NHS. The days are now shorter than they were in the last lockdown, the nights are darker and the worry and concern is just as real as it was in the spring.
In Psalm 34:4-10 we read:
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing”
So how do we seek the Lord, how do we keep that light burning in the darkness how do we trust in those words of hope as the world looks so very bleak, we must remember that we are not alone in this challenge, many have gone before us in times of trial, disease and war.
The church throughout its history has looked to some of its brightest lights, its saints, in time of darkness in order to be encouraged and guided by their example. On Sunday we celebrated All Saints Day and prayed that God would “grant us grace so to follow his blessed saints.”
As we walk through these days of darkness and lockdown together yet apart I want to share with you some of the brightest lights of the history of our own region, our Northern Saints and the way they coped with the darkness and looked to the light that is Jesus Christ.
Here in the North East our Christian Heritage is deep, there are many saints and many accounts of God giving the people of this region that light in the darkness. Starting from St Aidan as he established a Christian Community on Lindisfarne at the invitation of King Oswald we have a rich and inspirational history., so do join with be over the next few days and weeks as we explore together the heritage of our church in this place and the inspiration that can give us as we pray, serve Christ and bring light to the darkness.
I leave you with the words of our All saints Hymn, note the words of verse two “thou wast their rock, their fortress and their might ….. thou in the darkness still their one true light”. We are in this together and we can have hope in that very same God, the God of Aidan and all those saints who followed him to bring light to this part of the world.
For all the saints who from their labours rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, O Jesu, be for ever blest: Alleluia, alleluia!
Thou wast their rock, their fortress and their might;
thou, Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight;
thou in the darkness still their one true light: Alleluia, alleluia!
O blest communion, fellowship divine.
we feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
yet all are one in thee, for all are thine: Alleluia, alleluia!
But lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day:
the saints triumphant rise in bright array;
the King of Glory passes on his way! Alleluia, alleluia!
From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost: Alleluia, alleluia!
William W How (1823-1897)
Next we will explore the founder of the monastery of Lindisfarne and the bringer of the Good News of Jesus Christ to a dark place, St Aidan.
Your friend and Vicar