Below is a copy of the email that was sent on Friday 27th March 2020...
I continue to read Psalm 121 most days. I can almost remember and recite it off by heart. It's a great Psalm! Verse 5 repeats the refrain: The LORD watches over you. Over the last week - day and night - the LORD hasn't stopped watching over us. He watches over me and he watches over you. The Psalmist then says that the LORD is your shade at your right hand. Or in other words the LORD is a protector, and he protects his people from danger. Verse 6 intensifies this thought: ...the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Psalmist mentions the idea of day and night again, emphasising that the LORD protects us 24 hours a day. And I think the reference to the sun and the moon is a poetic way of speaking about anything that's dangerous. The LORD protects us from all dangers. This clearly can't mean that the LORD will protect us from COVID-19 and its consequences. That's not true. Christians will suffer as much as non-Christians as a result of the coronavirus. However, ultimately the LORD will protect us. We're pilgrims on our way to the New Creation and there is no danger (and no disease) that will stop us getting there. The LORD himself will see that we arrive safely at our final destination. He's proved that he can do that by raising Jesus from the dead - he has overcome even the danger of death. And so be reassured - our help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
This coming Sunday morning we'll be streaming at 10:30am on YouTube. In light of the Prime Minister's announcement earlier in the week we've decided that it wouldn't be right for the leader and preacher to get together. Therefore it will be slightly different to last Sunday but hopefully it will still be an encouragement to us all. For the children there are at least three options: (1) They can listen to the whole stream including the sermon - that would be great! Or (2) I've attached a relevant colouring page to this email or (3) Lorraine and Ali have filmed a couple of videos for the Village Kids (now available on our YouTube channel) and if you prepare in advance they could start 'the challenge' during the sermon.
The Home Group leaders have all been positive about our first experience of using Zoom on Tuesday or Wednesday evening. Therefore, we're going to give it a go on Sunday morning too. We're going to have a Zoom Coffee and Chat! The idea is that we'll see a few different faces and hear a few different voices (and maybe even get to know a few new people). Zoom has a 'breakout room' function which means if a large group of people join a meeting 'the host' can 'automatically assign' people to smaller groups. So... 5 minutes after the stream finishes (which gives you time to make a coffee) on Sunday morning (if you want to) you can join the 'Coffee and Chat' meeting (Meeting ID XXX-XXX-XXX and password 'XXXXXXXX') The host will then 'automatically assign' people to smaller groups and in smaller groups we can spend a few minutes catching up. It should be straightforward, and if it works well we can try it again next Sunday...
'See' you on Sunday morning!
Warmly in Christ,