From the Sanctuary
From the Sanctuary
May is the month when it is supposedly ‘safe’ to plant out our ‘annuals’ in the garden. For those who plant seeds and watch them develop into seedlings, before being ‘pricked out’ (thinned out from the seed tray into individual pots), planting them in the garden can bring with it a huge sense of achievement.
After all , you have put that tiniest speck of seed into the soil, maintained the correct temperature and light, and given it the right amount of water and nourishing – over a period of some weeks. You have then had the laborious process of replanting them into their individual – and now that May is here, in spite of the achievement, there can often be a sense of anxiety about when the right time is, to plant them out in the garden. Frost is still a possibility in the month of May, and annuals don’t like frost. All of that work could be for nothing, if you don’t get the timing right!
For me, there has been a sense that a similar process has been happening for us as Church. When is it the right time to emerge from lockdown, back to in-person worship after the pandemic? When can we start to resume some of our ‘normal’ practices that go to create connection and community, which is central to the practice of our faith? When will the virus (frost) be sufficiently at bay, for the risk of it to be minimal? Our Church Committee, like a gardener, has kept a careful watch on the local infection rates (the metaphoric weather forecast, so to speak), as given to us from trusted sources – but still we don’t know, for certain, what the risk-free thing is to do? We have socially-distanced our worship space as best we can (prepared the soil) and put in as many risk-averse measures and safe practices as we are able to, in order to create as safe a space as possible – and still, life is not risk-free (however many risk assessment forms we fill in). There will be anxiety, for some, around returning – and that’s understandable and OK.
As we emerge from the lockdown, let us do so like a careful gardener – with care, wisdom and courage. Let us not feel in anyway pressured to return back to Church (or get out in the garden) – and yet, please know that each of us is an important part of our Church community – just as every planted flower is important to a garden – and that we are missed when we aren’t there, and our community is impoverished without us.
Just as planting out the seedlings takes courage, discernment, care and wisdom, so will our stepping back into normality. It also requires faith. Faith is not the same as foolishness, and yet faith is what we are about, and what moves us forwards in life. May we have courage, discernment, care, wisdom and faith, as we journey forth.
I wish you every blessing,
‘And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.’ (Matthew 27:50)
‘Love is not a victory march. It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah.’ I can’t tell you what John Cale was thinking of when he wrote this line for the song “Hallelujah” made famous by Leonard Cohen. But it makes me think of Christ. Because love’s arms were not raised in triumph; they were stretched out on the cross.
Love is strong because it is vulnerable; it overcomes because it serves; it is powerful because it does not strive for power.
Love doesn’t climb ladders to get ahead; it gets stuck in at ground level. Love is not desperate for the dawn; it sets up camp in the dark night of the soul and builds a fire.
Love does not dominate, segregate or accumulate. Love would rather get nailed to a cross in a posture of inclusion than take up a sword to conquer.
Love wins because it is willing to lose.
Thank you for love. For your love.
For the love that sustains the universe.
Help us to follow your example of love.
(With thanks to Tearfund Lent)
It has been good to return to worship in church for the last couple of weeks and we were very pleased to welcome back Br John who is recovering remarkably well from his recent stay in hospital.
You will note from the above diary that the Whit Sunday procession has again been cancelled but we have to pray that next year will see a return to our usual celebrations.
Please try to come to our special services this month—the MWA Service on 9th May and we are welcoming a new speaker to our church on the 16th. Br David Hardiman is a member of the Crescent Road Congregational Church and we look forward to hearing what he has to say.
Timetable for May 2021
|Morning Worship with Holy Communion
led by Br Peter
|M.W.A. Meeting on Zoom
|Morning Worship led by the M.W.A
“Wonder Women – Then and Now”
|Morning worship led by Sr Dorothy Evans
with Guest Speaker Rev David Hardiman
Morning Worship led by Br Peter
|Family Service led by Sr Gillian Taylor