At the time of writing, and with the country’s lockdown having been extended for a further three weeks till 7th May, it clearly won’t be possible to come together, in Church, or in the community, to celebrate and give thanks for VE Day on 8th May. This is a great shame of course, but what we’ve begun to learn from this unprecedented time (did you know, for example, that the last time Easter Services were “suspended” was in 1213, under King John!) is that with imagination and creativity (both human and technological) there are still so many ways in which we can all come together. This ranges from the communal joining together of hands every Thursday evening, for NHS, Social Care and key workers, to the recording of Services for Facebook and the live-streaming of Services, as well as the use of whatsapp groups and video conferencing for keeping in touch and for meetings. Not to forget as well the wonderful and individual artistic talents of some members of our communities, whose NHS “rainbows” of thanks and hope adorn so many of our windows. There is much to give thanks for, especially in the quiet acts of helpfulness and kindness to those in need, even as we lament not being able to gather together, for services in Church and community events. In the fullness of time though I look forward greatly to a Service of Thanksgiving in Church and a “real” rather than a virtual party! During this month of May we celebrate two of the most important festivals in the Church – the Ascension of Jesus and the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles at Pentecost: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” said Jesus to those first believers, and He says the same to us today, gathered as we will be in our homes rather than in church.
And so, for the time being, as I said in my Easter sermon, and have touched on in some of the poems I’ve recently been inspired to write, we need to persevere and to look with hope to the future – for this marathon will come to an end!
May God bless each one of us in this coming month.
The Revd Alec Brown.