Here with you at St Andrew's bA Letter from Alan

Gifts

These are unprecedented times, and understandably many of us are concerned or fearful for ourselves and others.

It was a painful and difficult decision for the Church of England to suspend all services and activities at a time when people are feeling so isolated and comfortless.  

What’s clear is that this is a new season for us all - as individuals; as a nation and as a Church. And while recognising that alongside all that we have lost and stand to lose, this season is not without its gifts

Most of us will now have more of that precious gift called time. Hopefully we will devote some of that gift to deliberate acts of kindness; running errands for the housebound; keeping in touch (via calls or texts) with the loved and the lonely; leaving gifts on doorsteps; picking up discarded dog-poo bags or rubbish on your daily walks or dog-walks!

If we live with others or in families, perhaps we can find ways of making our times together more memorable; more meaningful.

We also have the gift of clearances. In the space of just one day, my diary emptied. Poet Priest John O’Donoghue once spoke of making clearances in our lives so we can ‘see the shape of our hungers, and the shape of our souls’. We have already seen how these times have surfaced both the very best and the very worst in us. This is a time to look within, to examine our motivations; to ask ourselves who we really are when everything else is stripped away. It’s also an opportunity to ask, ‘How will I grow through this… in faith, in hope, in love, in kindness?’.

And for those who pray, we can use these clearances to connect on a deeper level not only with others, but also with our God.  

God doesn’t cause or send viruses. He does, however, give strength and comfort within them. Through prayer, He can kindle a grace that can sustain us now and in the uncertainty to come.  

We will get through this, and my prayer is that we will be changed; that we will be kinder; that we will have gained a new depth of faith and a new appreciation of what is really important.

So, 'til our paths cross again; God bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you. And may you know the gifts of this new season.

Keep safe, stay well, God bless, Namaste.