Comment by Harborough churches: The pandemic is very tough, but it is temporary - and love is eternal

Every week, the Harborough churches write for the Harborough Mail. This week it is the turn of the Revd Christopher Brown, pastor of Market Harborough Baptist Church

Monday, 8th March 2021, 10:15 am
Revd Christopher Brown.

Viewpoint by the Revd Christopher Brown, pastor of Market Harborough Baptist Church

Long before I became a church minister, I was an aeronautical design engineer for Rolls-Royce (jet engines, not the car). One year I had the opportunity to work with Royal Navy submariners on a project for a particular class of submarine (Rolls-Royce make the nuclear power plant).

This was one of the most eye-opening and memorable experiences of my career. The life of a submariner is like nothing else I’ve encountered. When the boat is deployed the submariners dive, literally, into a very strange world, an alternative universe, for months on end. The environment is cramped, hot and busy. Days and nights disappear into 8-hour shifts. Sleep is hard to find. Food is simple and repetitive and often stored in the shower cubicles so there’s slightly more on offer.

Communication is limited to the outside world for long periods of time. Loved ones are missed for months. Time becomes defined by a series of tasks, responsibilities and habits, and boredom is never too far away. And most of all, deep within them, is the desire to return to the surface, to draw alongside the dock and take a deep breath of fresh air, and be reunited once more with family and friends.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? We have been living in a very strange world for nearly 12 months now, in an alien environment, where days and nights can merge, where sleep may have been hard to find. Where food at times has been limited, although perhaps not stored in the shower. Communication with the outside world has been has been limited, difficult and often

dependent upon the strength of our WiFi, and all of us have desperately missed our loved ones for months on end.

Our days may have become shaped by daily rhythms, routines and habits, and occasional periods of boredom. And most of all, deep within us, is that desire to return to the surface, to remove the face mask and take a deep breath of fresh air, and be reunited with our family and friends once more.

Well, we may not be alongside the dock yet, but we are certainly returning to the surface, slowly but surely, and we have the real and living hope – that beautifully powerful gift of God – of being reunited with loved ones in the near future, of embracing our friends and family and of being embraced by them.

As one of Jesus’ friends writes in the Bible, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). The pandemic and its restrictions on our lives is very tough, but it is temporary, whereas the love we have and share with one another, and the love that God has for us, is eternal. You are all in our prayers.

By Revd Christopher Brown is the pastor of Market Harborough Baptist Church, @revcsbrown