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For the best part of a year in the UK, longer elsewhere, Covid-19 and Coronavirus have brought mankind to a virtual standstill. With it have come claims and counter-claims, lockdowns, fines, extreme curtailment of our freedoms and severe restrictions on our social interaction with our relatives and friends.

The news has been dominated with numbers, the number of cases, deaths, hospitalisations and more recently, the number of people vaccinated. There has been an increase in stress and anxiety amongst all age-groups and this has been greatest amongst the poor and those from ethnic minority backgrounds.

We have little or no idea of how poorer countries, or those with chaotic governments or those at war have been coping with this pandemic.

There have been suggestions and claims that the virus has been used by those with agendas for population control and even population reduction. It has also been reported that the richest in the world have become substantially richer.

What cannot be measured is the amount of fear that has been generated. Fear of contracting the virus, becoming ill, dying, losing jobs, losing homes, not being able to mix, shop or go on holiday. Many people have been effectively locked up in their homes for months, many are alone. There are Christians who believe we are currently living in the ‘end times’. They may be right.

And yet, in Sacred Scriptures the phrase ‘Do not be afraid’ is recorded many times! If we truly believe in God, then we should not be afraid of the virus, of suffering ill-health or of dying.

Even the vaccine, which is being touted as the ‘saviour’ of mankind from this epidemic and which is being sold as our ticket to freedom, has side-effects. It cannot be 100% guaranteed and of course, there are reports that it may be harmful, part of a plan by the global elite to enslave the human race.

Many will simply take the vaccine without question, others will refuse it outright, some may be forced by their employers to have it, and others still are considering the pros and cons before making a decision.

Whatever decision is taken, the simple answer is to pray for protection and recall the words of Jesus himself. At the very end of Mark’s Gospel, moments before he ascended to Heaven, it is recorded:

Lastly, he showed himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table. He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. And he said to them, ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’

Mark 16:14-18