We live in fast moving times. One minute I can go into church to pray, now that is impossible and I/all clergy whose houses are not physically attached to the church are banned from entering their church buildings. So we will arrange for our service tomorrow morning and on Sunday to be broadcast from the Parish Hall (as I can access without leaving the Vicarage garden). I have attached a copy of the service sheets for Thursday and this Sunday at the end of my letter.
I know for many this lock down is a lonely time. You may already have a selection of prayers you use frequently, however, I thought I would offer you just a couple which you might find useful at this time.
In the Morning…
Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your disciples,
‘I am with you always’.
Be with me today, as I offer myself to you.
Hear my prayers for others and for myself,
and keep me in your care. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Before going to sleep…
God our Father, by whose mercy
the world turns safely into darkness and returns again to light:
we place in your hands our unfinished tasks,
our unsolved problems, and our unfulfilled hopes,
knowing that only what you bless will prosper.
To your love and protection
we commit each other and all those we love,
knowing that you alone are our sure defender,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Take care and God bless.
In these extraordinary times people are responding to the crisis in so many different ways. Some are deeply fearful, others are flouting requests to stay safe, a few are behaving disgracefully in other ways, but the majority are demonstrating wonderful generosity of spirit and self denial. Not surprisingly, our food banks are experiencing a huge increase in demand for food. At St Nick’s we usually have a basket at the back of church into which people can leave donations, but now that the church building is closed this is no longer possible. However, there is an alternative way of supporting them by donating money online. They can use these gifts to buy whatever is most needed and the order is delivered directly to the foodbank locations. If you would like to donate in this way to our local foodbank just follow this link:
It works well, I have tried it already!
There is an American lady named Kitty O’Meara who has previously worked as a teacher and spiritual care provider in hospital and hospice settings. Her response to the current situation was a prose poem which I think is very inspiring. Many of you will have read it already as it has ‘gone viral’ (an unfortunate phrase) on social media, but for those who have not I quote it below:
“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”
Kitty O’Meara’s poem has become shorthand for a silver-linings perspective during the coronavirus outbreak in the hope that something good can come out of this collective state of ‘together apart’ and I think it is worthy of reflection.
With every blessing