June / July 17

Dear Friends,

OUR HEALTH SERVICE HAS BEEN UNDER ATTACK from a virus.  There is a strange sense of irony in discovering that the virus is not something which causes a person to be ill but is a virus created electronically to bring computer systems to a standstill.  With all the problems currently being faced in our hospitals, clinics and surgeries by staff who seek ways of helping people who do not enjoy sound health, along comes a person or persons intent upon destruction.  In the time between me writing this letter and you receiving it, the source may have been identified so that problems will be unravelled and normality be restored.  Looking much further ahead, investment which could benefit patients will have to be diverted into areas of technology so that day-to-day running of administration can proceed unhindered, at least for the time being.

Trying to establish a motive for any acts which reduce the value placed on human life will not always bring about an end to evil activities.  It has been suggested that not only the recent cyber attack on Health Service establishments but a number of previous attacks going back to 2009 come from the Lazarus Group which has targeted other countries.  In Germany railway stations could not issue tickets and people in Spain discovered that their telephones were cut off.  A list of similar actions attributed to the little-known Lazarus Group occurred across the globe. It is suggested that North Korea is involved in promoting the chaos.

Emerging from the cyber attack as a hero, steps a 22 year old man named Marcus Hutchins.  He works in computer security and he discovered that the virus which found its way into the Health Service system had a ‘kill-switch’ which stopped the virus from causing any further harm.
What Marcus Hutchins has been able to do in our defence deserves recognition and the good that he has been able to do will counteract the devilry of others.
Time will tell whether or not we may recall the name of our technology hero ten years hence.  Many heroes have arisen in the past played a significant role in helping humanity.  What they did may still remain and be in regular use yet their names have either been forgotten or, at best, been consigned to history books.
There is one name which, as St Paul expressed it firmly, is above all names.  The name is Jesus.  Despite all that has transpired in the last two thousand years, Jesus is known in every nation.  When St Paul proclaimed Jesus is “the name above all names” his certainty remains firm to this day. We are assured that when we call upon Jesus, turning to him in prayer and being open to his guiding, then we will be shown the right path to follow.  In discussions with so many of you, I know this is something you have experienced many times over.
Sunday by Sunday throughout the long Church season of Pentecost, we see just how much the name of Jesus has brought strength and solace, courage and direction.  May it be a season which refreshes you and draws you closer to him.
Your Minister and friend,


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