January 9, 2021 Sunday 10th January The situation in the news today looks very different from how it appeared a week ago. At that point we were waiting to hear whether or not children would really be able to return to school after the holidays and debating what other measures needed to be put in place. By Monday evening we knew that we were going back into lockdown. Now we have seen the highest ever figures for positive test results, hospital admissions and deaths. The mood of the country is very sombre. On a day like this it is very poignant to reflect on the words of the annual Covenant Service and in particular the Covenant Prayer. For many there will be an added significance when we say the words: ‘Put me to doing, put me to suffering, let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you’. Today’s online service gives us the opportunity to focus again on the words of that prayer and ask God to help us live them out, even if that means that we are ‘suffering’, ‘laid aside’, ‘brought low’ or ‘empty’. That is not the whole story though – the Bible reading reminds us of the words of assurance spoken to Jesus at his baptism – words which are echoed in the Covenant Service and in one of the songs, ‘You are mine’. There is also an chance in today’s recording to hear a testimony from Rev’d Meg Burton, one of our supernumerary ministers, about the work of Hospital Chaplains.