Our faith in the time of coronavirus

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Here’s our final weekly message from our territorial leaders.

As they return to leading worship across the UK and Republic of Ireland, Commissioners Anthony and Gillian Cotterill are taking the time to pray, reflect and reassess. Commissioner Gillian says: ‘In time, we might come back in a new format, and maybe even a new line up.’

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The Salvation Army is helping some of the most vulnerable people across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Commissioner Anthony Cotterill, leader of The Salvation Army in the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland has said:

“Everyone is having to contend with so much during the Coronavirus pandemic: sadness, isolation, illness, separation from loved ones. 

Perhaps you have concerns about your family, finances or neighbours. It is not surprising that some of us might be experiencing stress and anxiety. 

I hope, though, as you experience new rhythms of life, that you are finding time to be still and quiet before God, and to receive from him as you pray and as you express thanks for the blessings that have come to you amid the sadness and frustrations. 

We often use the word ‘hope’ to express a wish that something is going happen. ‘I hope this will be over soon.’ ‘I hope to see you soon.’ 

But in the Bible it is a much stronger word. 

In Paul’s great letter to the Corinthians, what is known as the ‘love chapter’ climaxes with these words: ‘Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love’ (1 Corinthians 13:13). 

We know that passage very well. It concentrates on love, but hope is there, not far behind, so we need to understand what this hope is. 

It isn’t simply about wishing that something would be. Hope is a realisation that something is going to happen. We might not know when or how, but hope is believing that there is a promise – a verbal promise or one that is embedded in a relationship.

In the Bible, hope is that confident expectation of what God has promised, and consequently our hope is embedded in Jesus. 

Writing to the church in Rome, Paul had some remarkable words to say about hope: ‘Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ... And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us’ (Romans 5:1–5). 

Hope is the expectation of something that is promised to us. It’s a hope that is embodied in the person of Jesus Christ."

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