January at St Mary’s & St John’s – People of Hope and Restoration


People of Hope and Restoration

It has been a disappointing end to 2021 with Covid restricting our health and freedoms. We have been glad that the Government has seen the value of allowing people to meet to worship and we are grateful to have been able to celebrate the birth of our Saviour in our churches and online. As we look ahead, the next month holds many uncertainties, and we are continuing to pray especially for the health professionals who are again in the front line serving those who are most ill and risking their own health to do so. We will continue with all our protective measures including masks, social distancing and booking in for services. All Age Services will remain online for the mean time. Please keep an eye on the weekly email for changes.


Christians are a valuable commodity at times of national fear and disappointment because we are a people of hope when hope is in short supply. Someone was recently speaking about rebuilding our lives and church communities as “bouncing back”. He said, “I don’t want to bounce back, I want to bounce forwards!” This is a hugely positive way of looking at our rebuilding or “restoration”. We believe that the Lord will be close with us in 2022 as he has been with us so far through this pandemic. And of course, our hope extends even further, to his promise of an eternal future with him which outlasts all our dreams and fears for this world. Jesus is on the winning side and so are we.


As we look ahead, we turn to the Bible to guide us and teach us about our God who neither changes nor grows weary. This next two months, in our sermons, we draw inspiration from Nehemiah and his programme of restoration and rebuilding in Jerusalem at a time of national fear and disappointment for the people of Israel. They had been away from their homeland in exile for seventy years and the walls of Jerusalem were in ruins. Hope was needed, and action, too. Nehemiah was the kind of man you would want to work for you in your organisation. He was loyal, dependable, and efficient. No wonder, while he was in exile, he soon rose through ranks and entered the service of King Artaxerxes, the Persian king. His story is one of the liveliest in the Bible. Nehemiah teaches us the spiritual principles that hold life together whether in the business world or Christian ministry. Selwyn Hughes says “As a young man I was told that whatever career I chose for myself, I would never be able to serve the Lord effectively until I understood the principles set out in the book of Nehemiah. I found that advice to be true.”


We hope that our study of the book of Nehemiah, especially at this time, will turn out to be one of the most profitable spiritual journeys we have ever taken. Study guides are available for Life groups or personal study. Contact Cathy for details.


We hope you can find ways to bounce forward into 2022!
Jonny and Cathy