Rev. Julian Penfold: Reflections on how society has changed and finding our inner strength

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Rev. Julian Penfold: Reflections on how society has changed and finding our inner strength

Post by LauraHammond »

As I sit at my computer typing this message my mind wanders back to times gone by. I am now in my 60’s so I remember the days before mobile phones, where we had to wait until we got home before we could call someone. Eating out was a luxury, our telly was in black and white and then we only had 3 channels to choose from and they broadcast for just a few hours a day.

Shops were shut on Sundays and closed for the afternoon at lunchtime on Wednesdays. Sundays were truly a day of rest. After church in the morning we spent the rest of the day together as a family. But we didn’t complain because that was the way of life then.

I wonder what fond memories you have of your childhood?

But now, yes there have been an incredible number of tremendous advances in technology and lifestyle that have been of great benefit to us. But I do wonder if that has changed our outlook on life for the worse?

Have we become a society that expects things done in an instant? We want it and we want it now! Think of the growth of fast food outlets, longer opening times for our shops to serve people quicker, our frustration if we have to wait in a queue or can’t get someone on the phone….. and so on, I am sure that you can think of your own examples of where you have been frustrated over the past few weeks.

In the Bible there was a man called Paul who converted to Christianity, and he wrote lots of letters to church groups (you will find some of his letters in the New Testament). Paul was imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, chased out of towns and much more, simply because he spoke out about God and what he believed in, and the authorities didn’t like it.

But Paul learned the greatest of secrets, that of being contented and being happy with having almost nothing in a material sense yet having everything spiritually – a belief, faith and confidence in God. He knew that when he hit rock bottom in life God would be there to lift him up and give him an inner strength and patience.

In this pandemic many people, because of their high expectations of life that we have become used to, will feel frustrated, impatient, isolated because we can’t get what we want NOW. We can’t go where we want, when we want, we can’t see who we want. We can’t even hug family and friends.

Paul found that when the material things of his world failed, God was there for him, the great, ever present, unchanging source of hope. So perhaps we can start to refocus our outlook and expectations on life, and look inward for that great inner strength that God gives us, and place less reliance on the transient things that will almost certainly let us down.

Rev. Julian Penfold
St Martins, Alfreton.

Editor and mum to two small children :D

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