Forty days and forty nights.   It’s a very Biblical number.  In the days of Noah it rained forty days and forty nights and Jesus fasted in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights.  If the current lockdown was to last the same length of time then it would be lifted on Thursday 30 April 2020.  But the term is not an exact one.  It’s shorthand for a longish period of time.  The equivalent today would be to say, “for a month or two”.

And a month or two can seem a very long time if we have little or no social contact and all the routines of life are disrupted, with no clear end in view.  Sheila and I are able to sit in the garden and we have the technology to see and hear our grandchildren as they adapt to life confined within four walls.  Many don’t have such luxury and our hearts and prayers go out to them.

That the Rev Mike Binks is able to host prayer meetings and stream church services via the internet is a blessing and we are fortunate to have his skills, time and enthusiasm available to us.  All you need is a ‘phone and you can join in too!

Thank God for creative and resourceful people as well as all those who look after our basic needs, health care workers, the emergency services, those who work in the supermarkets and deliver food and other essentials, pharmacists, dentists, utility workers keeping the water, gas and electricity flowing, farmers and so the list goes on and on.

It’s not over yet and, to be realistic, the lockdown won’t be over by the end of April.  If you read the account of the flood in Genesis you will discover that, although it only rained for forty days and nights, the waters didn’t subside for 150 days!

Eight souls cooped up in the ark with a boat load of animals for 150 days.  It doesn’t bear thinking about.  Forty was bad enough!

But at the end of that story, as the ark rested on Mount Ararat and an altar was built, God set his rainbow in the sky, the sign and everlasting seal of his covenant with all creation.  The sign that has been adopted by children who have placed their drawings of a rainbow in their windows to say ‘thank you’ to the NHS.  God’s sign of hope and of his everlasting love towards humankind.

God is still in his heaven and we can rest in him, safe in his everlasting arms.


A Celtic Prayer:


              All that I am, Lord,                                          Each that I pray for,

             I place into your hands.                                  I place into your hands.

              Everything I hope for,                                   Each that I care for,

             I place into your hands.                                  I place into your hands.


             The troubles that weary me,                          Keep me close to You, Lord.

             I place into your hands.                                  Keep me close to You.

            The thoughts that disturb me,                        As I lift my hands to You, Lord

             I place into your hands.                                  I place them into your hands.