“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
As we move through another period of lockdown, many of us are anxious or fearful of what the future holds – anxious about our jobs, about our businesses, and about how we will cope. When we have faith, we have hope.
Please do not be anxious. Do not fear. Remember that God is with us - always. It is part of life’s journey to face difficult times, and to quote Desmond Tutu: “Hope is about being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness,” and I encourage us all to look for the light in our circumstances today.
iThe good news is that we have been here before… we have been successful - perhaps more so than any other nation - in getting Covid under control, and if we remain vigilant, we can do it again.
I ask you to abide by all government directives and all guidelines issued by our Church.
In Auckland, where we can no longer gather in person for another 12 days, we must once again move to virtual or online services. Embrace the opportunity to reach out in this way – I have been offering online devotions every Sunday since the first lockdown, and have enjoyed being able to reach so many people.
In other parts of New Zealand, large gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited. If this affects you, I encourage you to look at new ways of coming together.
I remind you: “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” (Proverbs 12:25). This is as true now as it was when it was written. Have a kind heart in your interactions with others. Reach out to those in need in whatever way you are able. If you are in Auckland, make lockdown the best it can be by enjoying time with those in your bubble.
Lastly, I also ask you to pray for our government leaders, for those who are unwell, and for our essential workers who are working hard on the front-lines of the fight against Covid.
Right Rev Fakaofo Kaio
Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand