Risen Christ, you filled your disciples with boldness and fresh hope: strengthen us to proclaim your risen life and fill us with your peace, to the glory of God the Father.
In this time of great uncertainty it is very easy to allow a little, if not a lot of uncertainty to take over our lives. There can be no doubt of the seriousness of what is happening regarding Covid19 and our hearts go out to those who are suffering the loss of a loved one or having a loved one or person they know suffering from this particular ‘plague’. In fact many people are becoming rather negative in their whole attitude to the situation with some selfishly ignoring advice and placing others at risk.
But having just celebrated Easter there is a message for all of us who have faith in God and his Son Jesus. The world has been dogged by plagues,disasters etc. since the beginning of time and as Christians we know that we should not be exempt from the normal things that affect others. I think that over the last few weeks my faith has actually been strengthened through seeing the response of so many who are giving up their time, and indeed their own security, to help others especially those in need. Being one who has to self isolate I have had time to reflect on what I expect from my faith. Should we expect better than anyone else or should we maintain our trust in God because surely that is what we believe in better times. Just because there is a terrible emergency we must not think that we should be immune and I am sure that leaders of other faiths would say the same.
Christ rose to bring us hope and because we could not share the joy of Easter Day together that does negate the hope that he brought.
We must not expect special treatment, though often we crave for it and if we look at the lives of the prophets, the disciples and the apostles and Martyrs it should give us the strength to overcome our fears. Prayer is an important part of our daily lives and perhaps more so now than normal albeit that prayers may take a completely different form as we are generally isolated but it is no less important or meaningful. The Easter message is about life both now and in eternity. It is through Christ that we live and have our being and that is accepting that everything in life is not always easy and agreeable to us but that through faith and prayer we shall overcome.
In our services we would be having weekly readings from the Acts of the Apostles and I would suggest that over the next 28 days we should try to read one chapter of Acts each day. We shall see how the disciples of Christ overcame their fear, doubts and troubles in so many different cases, times and places and came through with a stronger faith due to the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had promised and it is that same spirit that we have within each of us.
The only way that evil will win is by faithful people giving up.
Try to take some time each day to read a chapter of Acts and then pray about what you have read and what you have gained. God is listening and with each one of us in our time of worry but we have to make the effort to reach out to Him. Try this. I know from various sessions on the Prayer of Saint Francis that I have held over the years with people of all ages that taking a small piece at a time and looking deeply into its meaning for the world and for us individually often brings new and lasting revelations. Try that with the Book of Acts just for the next 28 days.
The family of Saint James is strong and through our shared faith and outreach we shall come through this.
My love and prayers are with you all and as that famous song goes ‘we’ll meet again’ at the first Sunday Eucharist after the lockdown.
In the meantime stay safe and follow the guidelines and follow Mother Katie in her messages that are obtainable over the web or by post on request.