Longing for Light
“See it, say it, sorted.” So runs the strapline associated with vigilance on our railway system for anything that might be associated with a possible terrorist attack. From the IRA to 9/11 and beyond we all know the devastating consequences of such events. That’s why we want to do all we can to prevent them.
There is no such strapline for the latest crisis to strike us. Only a word - Coronavirus. All the rebranding to its technical name, “Covid-19” will not prevent that word, the generic term, from going down in infamy in the history of the world. The “pan-” in the word, “pandemic,” is derived from Greek and means “all.” It seems there is no part of the world that is free from the grip of the virus. To say that we are all in it together almost takes on a double meaning. We’re all in the soup, and only together will we get out of it.
It is times like this that brings out the best and the worst in people. Within hours of the more stringent advice being issued, a local community Taunton Facebook page had amassed a huge number of offers of help. Contrast that with the panic buying, which, while no doubt rooted in understandable fear, helps no one.
It was not a total surprise when the Archbishops of Canterbury and York suspended public worship throughout the Church of England. We need to join with the whole community in serving the greater good. It does feel odd though, from the sudden clearing of my diary of services and meetings to the realisation that Holy Week and Easter Day will come and go without a single act of public worship, for we know this suspension is going to take some time.
Whenever God is at work, in the midst of death we will be able to see signs of resurrection. For some this time will mean disruption, for others illness, or others even bereavement. So far in Somerset the degree of the epidemic has been relatively light compared with some major cities, and long may it stay that way. But no one should underestimate the seriousness of the situation. One death is too many if it is your loved one that you have lost.
In practice, looking for resurrection means looking for hope. The church building may be closed, but be assured that your clergy will maintain a pattern of
prayer from home, and on Sundays I will also offer the Eucharist at home for the community and for the world. Meanwhile, in the Lady Chapel a candle will continue to burn to signify the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, a reminder that, although we are unable to share Holy Communion together during this crisis, the Light of Christ is present at the heart of our community. A light that will never go out.
Looking for hope also means believing in sunnier times ahead. The world is not a perfect place, and bad things happen. Yet faith is not about waving magic wands; it is about the sharing of love. Anything we can do to help share the burden of others is a sign, a reminder, that although bad things do happen, they do not have the final word. Alongside practical action is prayer. It does make a difference. When we pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,” we release ourselves into God’s hands to be used for God’s loving purposes.
St Andrew’s is a strong Christian community and I know that everyone will be constant in faith and prayer as we bear this burden together and alongside the community we serve, trusting in a God who lives and loves and saves.
As we look towards Easter, I am reminded of the rallying cry of St Augustine, who declared with such joy, that, “We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song.”
Every blessing. Stay safe.
All public worship is now suspended until further notice and the Church is closed to worship. Normal Sunday services will recommence on the Sunday immediately following the day when the Government announces that this may
For those on line, there are plenty of prayer resources for use on
your own or with your household. Please see the notes on the newsletter included in the weekly emailing and on our parish website.
A package of measures is now in place to enable us to offer help for those who cannot get out to shop or collect medicines, or who might appreciate a regular call to make sure that all is well. If you would like help and have not received a call, please contact the clergy.
All church activities such as Church Mice, Choir Practice, Flower Arranging etc are also suspended until further notice. This includes Holy Communion at home.
Here for you …
If you have any concerns or worries and are unsure where to
take them, please call Robin on 01823 352471 or Katy on 01823
330854. We cannot visit but it may be good to talk!