Church of England Diocese of Birmingham St. Alban and St. Patrick, Highgate

Vicar's Letter for June

1 Jun 2020, 9:15 p.m.

Like many others, I have had to do things differently during this lockdown. I am fortunate in being able to work from home and that I live in a large house with a big garden (my family and I are never on top of each other). I look out of the vicarage widow and wonder what I is like for those in flats, especially if they have young children. Let us pray for those who find this lockdown difficult and frightening.

I am learning new skills. I continue to learn about video and sound editing as I produce Masses, reflections and other services for YouTube. One of the strangest things I have done so far has been going to Margot’s house to record the Angelus while maintaining social distancing. I remained 2 meters away with the recorder while Margo was singing into microphone in her front garden. Margo had to contend with the wind and passing cars as she was singing (I hope you will all enjoy the results so that Margo and I can consider our time well spent).

Arranging a funeral has also been very different from the usual as I can’t visit the bereaved family and we will be limited to a handful of mourners at the crematorium. Other things have been less strange, though in their way just as unusual (such as helping Stanhope hall deliver food parcels on Wednesdays).

As we look forward, we hope that we will be able to do more things as restriction are slowly released. However, it is likely that life won’t return to normal for at least another year: even then we may have to find a new normal for our lives.

Jesus’ disciples also had to find a new normal after the death and resurrection of Jesus. The old certainties had gone, destroyed by Jesus’ death. Jesus’ resurrection didn’t return the disciples life to normal because Jesus was with then in a new and different way. Jesus used the 40 days between his resurrection and ascension to explain to his disciples that he was going back to the Father and that they would have to find a new normal. Jesus promised that they would get help to find a new way of living. That help came on the day of Pentecost when the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit.

It took a long time for Jesus’ followers to work out what the new normal was for their lives. Indeed 2 millennia later we are still finding new ways to follow Jesus in, and we still need the Holy Spirit to guide us. Let us pray that both in this pandemic and in our lives of faith we will learn to follow God better.