Yippee! From next Wednesday we are permitted to open our churches again for worship, this is wonderful news……..but if only it were that simple! Various measures will have to be put in place first, not least permission from the bishop and a detailed risk assessment! Today we’ve heard from the SEC that they are still awaiting guidance from the government re. permitted number of worshippers… Robert very kindly has been purchasing face masks and sanitisers; furniture will have to be moved and a two-metre distance seating plan worked out. The vestry are meeting on Monday to discuss the plans.
I had my first trip to Waitrose this morning wearing my compulsory face mask which in my case is a buff. A buff is essentially a scarf in the shape of a short tube which can fit round one’s head in various ways. I don’t know who invented them, but they are a fabulous piece of kit. I use them as headbands to keep my hair out of my face when walking or playing golf. They are also brilliant as a head covering for rain and warmth, plus they look good as a fashion accessory around the neck. Now, joy of joys, they make perfect face coverings!
I am very grateful that my two hobbies, playing golf and walking the dogs are both outside activities and so require less restrictions than some other pursuits. In fact, my dogs have been a huge source of comfort to me over the last few months with their business as usual attitude. Not for them any social distancing! I don’t think I have written one of these letters with out a pug snoring loudly on my lap.
In the Old Testament reading from the book of Isaiah the prophet is describing the forthcoming wonderful reunion between God and his people after their exile. This restoration is full of joy and hope encouraging us to take God’s promises seriously and trustingly. As we emerge from our exilethese words certainly have resonance.
“You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12
In the gospel passage we have the “Good Old Parable of the Sower” it is a very well-known and familiar story in which Jesus illustrates how he sows the seed of God’s word through his preaching. The effect this has on people depends on how they respond to it.
” But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:23
In the epistle we have more words of encouragement form Saint Paul.
“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Roman 8:5-6
Here Saint Paul is saying that the joys of Christian life are available to all people. He says that Christ’s spirit, through forgiveness, has set us free.
We may not feel very free now with our lives being so restricted, but we must remind ourselves that God’s love, his forgiveness and promise of eternal life are always free to all his people. We just have to trust this divine truth and be that nurturing soil that receives that seed of truth.
I will look forward to joining you all again via YouTube on Thursday for our morning Eucharist
My love and prayers to you all as always