Letter from St Mark's House

St Mark's House

December 2020 - January 2021


Dear friends 

‘Thank you for calling. All our agents are busy at this time. Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line and your call will be answered as soon as possible.’
According to one survey, the average person will spend approximately 43 days waiting on hold in their lifetime! That seems as nothing when compared to all the waiting of 2020. In the uncertainty, plans have been cancelled, rescheduled or postponed. For many, life itself has been put on hold. The mood seems captured in the title of one (among many) recommended consultancy book: How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You are Going. This season of uncertainty between an old comfort zone and new challenges can foster feelings of anxiety, confusion or low morale.

Our world has been changed and our routines are gone. We’re told to distance ourselves socially from each other - an unfortunate phrase for distancing ourselves spatially. While keeping physically distanced, we need to encourage one another socially in conversation or correspondence, getting closer in heart and mind. Between working from home and avoiding group gatherings, 2020 has proved to be a lonely year. That is a hard place to be. Our minds can conjure up worst-case scenarios in the darkness of the imagination, the fear of the unknown. From imprisonment the apostle Paul wrote, ‘Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Then God’s peace will guard your hearts and minds and the God of peace will be with you.’1

While life appears to have been put on hold for many, God’s plans and purposes are not, nor is his attentiveness to our cries. For centuries the Jewish people lived in expectation of the Messiah; through the intervening years the world was prepared for the Gospel to spread. When the right time had come, God sent his Son. At the end of his ministry on earth, Jesus promised that he would return. The apparent delay became a cause for doubting God’s word. The apostle Peter set the record straight: ‘in the last days scoffers will come saying “where is the promise of his coming?” God is not slow but patient, not wanting any to perish but everyone to come to repentance.’2 God’s plans are not on hold; his ‘delays’ are not denials; his timing is perfect. Jesus taught, with regard to events in his day, that disasters may be a gracious call to salvation. It has been observed that this may well be true of our current pandemic: ‘I think that God is calling the world to repentance while there’s still time. He is showing us that nothing in this world gives the security and satisfaction that we find in Jesus.’3

May this Christmas and the year ahead, find you rejoicing in the message of Christ’s first coming and ready for his return.

Watching and waiting

Nick and Harriet

                                                              1 Bible, The Message: Philippians 4.6-7; 2 Bible, NIV: 2 Peter 3.9; 3 ‘Coronavirus and Christ’ John Piper