Risen Christ, by the lakeside you renewed your call to your disciples: help your Church to obey your command and draw the nations to the fire of your love, to the glory of God the Father.
God our redeemer, you have delivered us from the power of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of your son. Grant that as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his continued presence in us he may raise us to eternal joy.
Through the darkness with love and prayer
Written by Serena Josolyne
We have been suffering from the darkness of a different type to that in our Collect: a lethal, viral pandemic, that has totally changed the ways of life, throughout the world, for many weeks.
Last Sunday we were advised by our Prime Minister that this country has now passed the peak. Although we may not be fully out of the darkness, we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel and with God’s help we can look forward to emerging and resuming more meaningful lives once again.
Although our normal way of life has been shattered, it is significant that this disaster has brought out the caring and loving God-given nature within so many people. This brings to mind that additional commandment given to us by Jesus: I give you a new commandment that you love on another. Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another [John 13:34].
We are forever grateful to all those who have been working so hard to find ways of ending this problem. This includes all those who have been caring for the sick and those in need. This is not just their vocation, but selfless devotion, often at great personal risk. They have shown their love of others by looking for a way to beat this virus and to cure those already infected with it. They also include those whare giving that all-important help to those who need it.
In addition to all those working directly in this way, there has been a common desire throughout the country, for the care of all those around us, particularly those who may be at greater risk and are often self-isolating. Not only are families becoming much closer, but in most communities, neighbours are actively looking for ways of giving help to those who live nearby. Looking further afield, this is a global problem and other nations are now working together with us and sharing knowledge, to try and find a way of controlling this epidemic.
The recommended measures asked everyone to minimise the possibilities of virus transmission. This resulted in a ‘lock-down’ for many activities. Socialising has suffered, particularly amongst those who have been asked to self-isolate.
The telephone has been a useful way of keeping in touch. But there are other ways. Not everyone is ready to try out the more recent technical innovations, but for some years Video networking has also become a useful way of meeting up and seeing each other, without the need for close contact. In the present environment this removes the danger of virus transmission. This works well at both personal and professional levels. In my immediate family we organised regular video-links. At first, we had as many as seven adults, three children, a baby and a dog, all together at the same time! However, this did turn out to be a bit chaotic, so we have now ended up with more meetings with less people in each and have spread the links to include the wider family. Although St James is closed for open worship, abridged Sunday services are being transmitted by video-link. Many Clubs and Associations are also trying to keep their membership together in a similar way.
God does not require a telephone or a video link to hear us. Although we may not be able to congregate together in Church services, this does not stop us from praying. We do not need to be with others to speak with God, we can do this in our own home. By having faith and by giving our love to others, God will listen to our prayers and guide us through these difficult times.
In psalm 66 we are reminded that God is watching over all nations. He has listened to our prayers has heeded them and has led us through many different trials to a better place.
John’s Gospel reminds us that Jesus has lived on this earth and knows our basic needs. He has promised us that by asking God, through him, our prayers will be answered.
If in my name you ask for anything, I will do it. If you love me, you will keep my commandments and I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. [John 14:14 &15]
While we still may be doing all that we can to help others, we may miss the opportunity to attend church and worship with those who we know.
Although this may seem important to us, it is not so important to God. God is ready to listen to each one of us, whether it be from our home or even our place of work.