Message from The Vicar - Lockdown
The Vicarage - Friday 20th August
Good afternoon everybody
Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
I trust this finds you well. May the Lord Jesus who sleeps through the storm, draw you to himself that there by his Goodness you might know the Peace that passes all our comprehension.
I’ve been biding my time with regard to emailing the parish, waiting to get a little clarity around where the current lockdown is headed. Following the cabinet’s decision earlier this afternoon we can at least see a few days ahead, as the Level 4 Lockdown will remain in place until 11.59pm Tuesday.
If you are ‘following’ the news online, please remember that you are a free person in Christ. We are not to be enslaved to anything except the Love of God. By all means keep informed, but do not let the news consume you.
As wiser people than I have said, as far as the internet is concerned, we are the product and our attention keeps the advertising money flowing. Even news sites are designed to keep you scrolling. It is good for our self-discipline - a fruit of the Holy Spirit, a sign of God's life in us - to log on only once a day or twice at most. Following the explicit command of Jesus, "be Wise as Serpents, and Gentle as doves!"
First to note, if you are not already aware, there is no public worship this Sunday
This no doubt will be a great cause of sadness for many for we are one body, and know Jesus best when we are together. However, even the Apostles found themselves cut off from the rest of the church at times, and unlike them we are not in a dungeon with chains round our ankles.
Given that such harsh and lonely circumstances did not restrain their praise and prayers, may we also attend to our Good God, giving thanks in all circumstances, for this is his will for us in Christ Jesus.
Second, I am putting together an ‘ante-communion’ service for us to share in on Sunday, and I will post the link on the parish website late tomorrow afternoon.
You may wish to use the intervening time to ponder our readings from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Chapter 6 and verses 10-20, and the Gospel according to John, Chapter 6 verses 56-71. (Perhaps also, given we may find we have been gifted ‘spare’ time, you might like to consider the whole question of how we prepare ourselves week by week to hear God’s word together)
(I hope also to put up a ‘thought for the day’ from Monday onwards.)
Third, as in the previous lockdown, the church bell is rung at 10 each morning. Please take the opportunity to pause to pray for others as well as for yourself. Perhaps if you’ve put it away somewhere, take out the prayer card form our first lockdown?
Fourthly, do what you can to make connection with others. I’m glad to hear that folks have been phoning around. Don’t wait for the phone to ring, take the initiative! (In so many ways our society has trained us to expect everything to be done for us. This is one way we go against the flow) A phone call is ALWAYS better than a text message, if NEVER as good as seeing someone’s face . . .
Finally in this section, if you have any concerns, do get in touch with me. Either by phone or email. Details on all service sheets.
As I said at the beginning of the last lockdown, such occasions as this are forms of judgement. They test us to see whether we are growing deeper into his life and loving more and more, or, like the weeds are losing our rootedness and giving ourselves over to the passions. May God grant us mercy in these days.
Some words to close from St Paul, a reminder that in all circumstances, the Christian Life never changes
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Blessings in Jesus Christ, and do stay in touch!