THE psychological damage caused by this current crisis has been significant and long lasting. It has been especially severe on those with mental health problems and has even affected the services that clients rely on.

I was saddened to hear of a child suffering from depression because of worry about Covid.

Religion, wellbeing practices and healing therapies all play their part in our overall health. Some of these have not been able to operate recently. Exercise, gardening and involvement in nature have also helped greatly.

One thing that we all need when we are overworked, stressed, ill or worried is rest. I find that the dentist’s chair allows me to relax! It must be the shape of the chair!

Psalm 37 verse 7 says, “Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him.”

We can re-charge our batteries by doing this. Felix Mendelssohn used this verse in his great oratorio “Elijah”. The lyrics are: “O rest in the Lord, wait patiently for him, And He shall give thee thy heart’s desires. Commit thy way unto him and trust in Him, And fret not thyself because of evil doers.”

The music and the words certainly help one to rest.

By tradition, Sunday has been a day of rest when humans can refresh their souls. One of our departed local characters used to say to his busy ambitious daughter, “Go to church on Sunday, even if you do not believe. It will refresh you.”

On the theme of resting in God I think of the hymn by David J. Evans (b 1957). “Be still for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here; come bow before him now with reverence and fear. In him no sin is found, we stand on holy ground. Be still for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here.”

We need to allow our racing minds to rest and be still.

I always remember, when I was teaching, the hard-working head of PE saying that his holiday was spending a fortnight doing nothing much on a fine beach.

William Williams (1717-91), one of our greatest Welsh hymn writers, wrote – “Dyma’r man dymunwn aros, o flwn pabell bur fy Nuw, uwch terfysgoedd ysbryd euog themtasiwn o bob rhyw, dan awelon peraidd hyfryd tir fy ngwlad.”

There is a lovely Welsh translation of Horatius Bonar’s hymn, “I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto me and rest.”

“Mi glywais lais yr Iesu’n dwneud,

Tyrd ataf fi yn awr,

Fflinderog un, cei ar fy mron

roi pwys dy ben i lawr.”

Mi ddeuthum at yr Iesu cu

yn llwythog, dan fy nghlwyf;

gorffwysfa gefais ynddo ef

a dedwydd, dedwydd wyf.”

In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 11 and verse 28, we read: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

A prayer:

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the holidays and for all times of rest and recreation. Give refreshment of body and spirit to all those who are on holiday. Keep them and us safe, that they and we may return to work and to our neighbours, with new strength and a new vision of your love. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Rev John Powell

Retired vicar of Cardigan