Faith Focus: A year in which we have missed so much

David Martin

David Martin - Credit: Archant

I sense that we are into the ‘hard yards’ of the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s a great deal of hard work and effort ahead.

So much so that I hesitate to write yet another coronavirus article. The novelty has long since worn off. The longing for physical contact with family and friends – especially the hugs - continues to grow.

The worst seems to be over and yet the threat of an upsurge remains. We are starting to see lockdown ease and battered businesses are starting to reopen as we move towards the ‘new normal’ and the Thursday evening ‘Clap for Carers’ has run its course.

Yet we are aware it is not normal, significant constraints still remain and it will be a long time before things are truly normal – if they ever are.

Against this backdrop, we have seen so much good in St Albans, Harpenden and the surrounding area with local communities coming together, and numerous organisations and businesses lending support to the less fortunate and those shielding.

Both my wife and I volunteered to help in different ways but we have rarely been called on, not due to lack of demand but the abundance of St Albans volunteers.

We have enjoyed cleaner air, the birdsong and a particularly colourful spring – the rhododendrons at Childwickbury were breath-taking – but still it can all seem a bit pointless and empty.

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The year 2020 has deprived many of key moments – be it seeing a new grandchild, a wedding postponed or worst of all not being able to say goodbye properly to a dying relative or friend.

As a Christian I hope I can see 2020 with an eternal perspective celebrating all the joys and looking beyond the sadness.

One of our church leaders talked about the ‘plod for God’ and it certainly seems like it at the moment. The Apostle Paul talked about running the race – it’s clearly a marathon not a sprint.

We were not promised every step would be easy. These times of challenge give all of us an opportunity to re-evaluate what really matters and what is important to us.

David Martin is a retired loss adjuster who has lived in St Albans since 1976. He is a member and former leader of King’s Community Church.