Letters Podcast

Letter to Parishioners, 24 April 2020

Listen to or read a letter from Revd Stephen to Parishioners, Friday, 24 April 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

Another week has gone past and most of us will not have noticed much difference from previous weeks.  We are still distanced and isolated, our churches are still closed and we are still called to engage with each other through any means of communication we are able to call upon, other than face to face conversation.  For some, this time of isolation has become a new norm.  New routines have been created and a sense of peace and contentment has settled on the new reality that has been forced upon us.  For others, the feeling of distance that has been generated between loved ones, friends and neighbours has become an increasingly difficult burden to bear.  And then, we are constantly being told that this could go on for much longer than we had hoped.  And there is the issue for all of us, where can we find hope on this strangest of journeys?

This morning, as Revd Aron and I shared in Morning Prayer via Zoom, we read, as our New Testament lesson, a reading that is often heard at weddings.  We read from the third chapter of Paul’s letter to the Colossians.  In that beautiful reading, Paul urges us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.  Surely that is the place we should all be seeking at this time.  Every day we are being told of the debt of gratitude we should be feeling for those who are putting themselves at risk of contracting the Coronavirus because of the jobs they continue to do for us.  But, as we sit in our isolated and distanced homes, many of us are not feeling those marvellous Christian attributes.  Rather, we are in danger of becoming unkind, arrogant and impatient as we feel the frustration of not being in total control of our daily lives.  It is important that we learn to pause when those negative feelings begin to overwhelm us.  It is important for us to remember the next thing that Paul says to us – forgive each other, just as the Lord has forgiven you.  It is so easy to be overcome with feelings of righteous indignation because things are not going our way, but the Christian path is one of forgiveness – the path on which we are called to show compassion, meekness and patience.

In the reading from Colossians (chapter 3, verses 12–17) we are also called to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, and we are called to be thankful.  The peace of Christ is a gift of God which is there for all of us, if we will only reach out and grasp it.  Then, once we come to know that peace, we will certainly want to be thankful for all that Jesus has done for us by journeying through the agony of the Cross into the triumph of the Resurrection.

Whether we are feeling angry or apprehensive, confused or powerless, frustrated or resigned, there is one message of hope that is there for all of us – let the word of Christ dwell in you richly – and then, in whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Let us continue to be grateful for those who are walking the extra mile to keep some semblance of normality in our lives, but let us also continue to be grateful for the time we have been given to draw closer to the God who does love us and will continue to love us, even when we feel frustrated that we are not in total charge of everything we do.

With every blessing to you all,

Revd Stephen