I don’t know about you but there are times when it is difficult to feel positive about things, particularly when we seem to be bombarded by a host of difficult and challenging guidelines, depressing statistics, the latest pronouncement from this politician or that scientist. In fact just as I started to write this letter I was notified that the Church of England had updated 14 documents of guidance about church buildings, services of different types and pastoral work and I have to say my heart dropped thinking about trying to get my head around them. So, it is a good job that we have the lessons of todays gospel to give us encouragement and help us through the challenging times of life – Jesus takes the opportunity to tell his followers that the Kingdom of Heaven is within touching distance, it has come near to us. As Christians this is our hope and it is our mission, that we recognise how close the Kingdom of heaven is and that we draw others to it. The Christian message is based on hope and supports us through the challenging parts of our lives. So, through our fear, our frustration, our anger let us remember this and pray we may recognise it because as Paul is saying in the letter to the Romans, if we have hope in the midst of our suffering, that hope rests in God’s love; the love that makes us His. So, as I plough my way through all the updated guidance I am going to try and keep that in mind, remembering that the Kingdom of Heaven is near!
Bishop Nick in his most recent letter to all clergy in the Diocese has encouraged us not to lose heart as things change and are different. He acknowledges that none of us are any good with uncertainty but we are going to have to live with it for the foreseeable future. He says,’ The end of our story is unknown. But, we are called simply to be faithful and do what we can where we can. We are in God’s hands, and none of us can know the future anyway.’ We find ourselves having to learn another of those lessons of patience that I often speak about.
The PCC’s met this week and we are going to continue with our services in our churches on alternate weeks. This will help us to ensure that we are able to follow all the guidance about keeping each other and our communities safe. We will continue to have our services online and send out information by email and post to keep in touch with everyone.
Please be assured of my continuing prayers and I ask for yours.