There is a sense of "here we go again" as we live in this next lockdown. However, it is not like the first time, of course. We have learned so much as a church in terms of how to engage with prayer and worship, how to use technology, and the importance of keeping in touch with each other. To that end, you will see in the various parts of this weeks email, different aspects of each of these things, from the way we will broadcast acts of worship or theological reflection, the opportunity to come to church to pray, and the informal ways to connect through"zoom". I am also so greatly encouraged by the way we have all, as a community, managed to keep in touch with each other. I'm so thankful for all of you who are regularly making phone calls, checking in with others, and passing on news.
The other thing that doesn't change is the call upon us as Christians to pray. For this lockdown season, the Archbishops are particularly asking us to pray each day at 6pm, and there are resources included in this email which will help us to do that.
There are things that feel different - for many of us the reality of the virus feels closer, with loved ones, friends and colleagues either testing positive, or needing to isolate due to those we have had contact with showing symptoms or having the virus. Our city was already creeping into the higher tier as cases were rising so significantly. Navigating the guidelines isn't straight forward, but I pray we will all have the desire to follow both the spirit and letter of the law.
I was reminded in Morning Prayer today of that great passage from Isaiah 43: "The former things have passed, see I am doing a new thing, it springs up, do you not see it?"
That reminder of God, present and active in all things and at all times, constantly creating.
Perhaps in the coming days we might all take the opportunity to see where God is: it may be in the changing of the scene out of our windows, in the kindness of a telephone call, in the care shown to each other in wearing face masks and observing distances, in the response to a call of need from the Sisters of the Church, or the Food hub, or in a quiet moment, with a candle lit, and a time of prayer.
I pray for you, sisters and brothers, as we continue on our journey.
May you know the peace and love of God in the coming days.
With every blessing