From the Curate

Fifth Sunday of Easter 10/5/2020 We’ve had some beautiful weather recently, which hopefully may have given you a lift – chance to sit in the sunshine to read a book, or work in the garden clearing weeds and mowing the lawn. Whether you’ve been at work or are shielding at home, I hope you have had some chance to enjoy the sunshine. For sunshine lifts us, a promise of happier days mingled with memories of long gone summers from childhood. Days, which were endless, spent with friends or family. Of course, in many ways our days might seem endless now. The impatience of when will life return to normal, how can it possibly return to normal, when can we see and hug our family and friends, how can some of us work safely in our occupations, how can children and staff safely return to school – questions , so many questions. Our days may seem endless now; indeed, it can be difficult to remember what day of the week it is! Without our regular routine, we can sometimes feel lost and confused. And here’s Thomas in our Gospel for today, asking the question that all the disciples probably wanted to ask but couldn’t voice. Jesus is with his disciples trying to prepare them for when he is no longer with them. He knows that the agonies of Gethsemane and his crucifixion are imminent. Of course, they don’t get it. They don’t understand what is going on. Jesus tells them that he will go to prepare a place for them with his Father. Thomas voices, “we don’t know where you are going, Lord, so how can we know the way?” You can sense the disciples’ unease. What is Jesus talking about now? Where is he going? Some of their unease may have stemmed from a sense of displacement. They were no longer in control. And our unease could stem from this, too. We are no longer in control. Choice has been taken away from us. Where is God in the midst of this pandemic? Covid 19 has affected all our lives. Many have been directly affected through illness, death, grief and mourning. Others are affected because they can no longer go to work, or cannot leave their homes. We are all affected by the ‘Stay home’ strapline and it’s been 7 long weeks of relentless, depressing statistics and news. So no wonder that on Friday, on VE Day, we tried to bring light out of darkness, and tried to find ways in which we could lift our spirits. Some streets organised socially distanced street parties, with music and a chance to chat to neighbours from the end of your drive. I saw bunting, balloons and flags up and people smiling. Of course, the sunshine helped and I thank God for the opportunity to be in the fresh air and sunshine. I shared a socially distanced coffee and cake natter with a friend and neighbour, and how that lifted my spirits! But what were we celebrating? The end of the war in Europe, yes, but some people would not have wanted to celebrate. The war took away peoples’ lives and livelihood. Does anyone really win in a war? A celebration that the war in Europe was over and a deep acknowledgment of loss. The pandemic has been likened to a war. So many have been affected by Covid 19. There has been illness, death, grief and mourning, and for those who have recovered, life will never be the same. As life following the war could never be the same, so life following this pandemic will have to change. Jesus shows how he wants us to live, how God the Father wants us to live. God has a place for all of us, and God is at work in each and every one of us. For Jesus is the way. He offers a peace for us all, an inner peace, without all the trappings of commercialism and the “I want” culture. We can’t save ourselves, we cannot prevent the virus. We grieve because we may have celebrated VE Day in a very different way to how we had planned, but we can show Christian love in what we offer at this time, whether it be shopping for neighbours who have to stay in, or volunteering to drive for the food bank. We show Christian love through prayer. For Jesus is the way, for he and God the Father are one with the Holy Spirit. Through Jesus we can be who we really are, for God is at work in us all. In her message to the nation, the Queen reminded us of the VE Day message to ‘Never give up, never despair.’ She said that during lockdown our streets are not empty, but are filled with the love and care that we have for each other. We wait with hope for the prime minister’s announcement on Sunday, knowing that we want life to return to normal but recognising in our heart of hearts that this cannot happen. However we will come out of lockdown, there will be people who disagree. We have to trust that the government has taken advice and knows the way. Whatever happens, the love and care we have for one another will not diminish, and in time we will be able to worship together. Hold firm to Jesus’s words, that “I am the way, the truth and the life.” I finish with a prayer by Judith Dimond ‘Gazing on the Gospels’: Jesus, be my guide, through whom I come to know the Father, So strengthen my trust and confirm my faith That I may walk through the mazes of my life With an untroubled heart And enter the place you have prepared for me. Amen. With love and prayers, Anne
— Janet Taylor
Sun, 10 May 2020