This week “maps” have been a recurring theme for me. We received the government’s “road map” out of lockdown on Monday, and on Wednesday Bishop Robert began his Lent talks on the Exodus by helping us think about the stories of the people of God on their journey from captivity to the Promised Land as a spiritual map for journeying in faith. In this Sunday’s gospel Jesus sets out his route through suffering to resurrection.
What each of these ideas of a map have in common is that they are used to draw closer to a desired destination. They also help us see that the bit of life we are travelling now is a step on the journey to that destination and as such has signs of that destination present now. We may see that the restrictions we accept now are contributing to getting us to a first staging post of schools going back and so on. As we look at what the people of God experience in the wilderness we see how they are learning that God’s will for them forms them as a people and requires their trust. Jesus today calls us to unite all we suffer with his journey which carries us to share in his resurrection. If we can trust Jesus’ map we are renewed in hope, a powerful virtue for this time.
I know many of you are keen to express that renewed hope in making plans for a return to worship in church, and especially in thinking about how we might celebrate Easter together. In the coming week I will be talking to each church warden about what will work for each parish in the weeks to come – and I hope we can have mapped out our route to share with everyone very soon!
In the meantime, the Lenten steps of reviewing what you are able to give to support your church (almsgiving), allowing your faith to shape how you support local business and those who treat their producers fairly through Fairtrade week and beyond (fasting), and praying for each other, for our community and the healing our world needs in the midst of deepening your own prayer life with God hold within them the hope of the Easter life to come.
I’ll also mention the Zoom coffee morning on a Wednesday that Marilyn hosts on a Wednesday morning as a really good opportunity to maintain the companionship which we are looking forward to sharing in person in time to come. It lasts for half an hour and has a very informal and friendly feel. If you need a reminder of the details reply to this email and I'll ask Marilyn to contact you.
My prayers that the sunshine and lengthening days bring hope to you soul