By the time you read this, we will be hurtling towards Easter and if predictions are correct, we might be a little bit more ‘unlocked’ than we have been. The Prime Minister has made an announcement and all children will be returning to school early in March. As many people have now been vaccinated with their first dose, we all begin to feel a bit lighter and less worried than we were but with a sense of being cautious.
It is a little early as yet to know when we shall re-open for Church Services at Christ Church; the government announcements do not give much detail and I believe our local infection rate is still high, although improving. I hope to have news on that soon.
All of this does make me wonder what on earth we did before the pandemic! It’s easy to lose your bearings after almost a year of this with the prospect of a few months more before we are able to be reasonably free. The 21 June date of possibly all restrictions being lifted is not set in stone, so we need to be careful, yet hopeful.
Did those days before the pandemic seem carefree? I watched some news on the situation in Myanmar earlier this week and thanked God that we are not under a military regime – freedom isn’t just one thing is it? Freedom will always need to be within some boundaries, some laws, some guidance, some rules. We feel bound by the restrictions we have been living under but we know they are necessary and are only for a time. Much of the world’s population does not share the privileges we have.
In my talk for Ash Wednesday I said that the whole year past has felt like one long Lent. It has in many ways – the things we have been denied have become difficult to cope with. As I sit here in my study the sun is shining and that certainly brings me joy – along with a bit of guilt at the state of the borders in the garden! I have to say that mostly I have a hopeful attitude but my hope is bound up in my faith and the knowledge that God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit provides that hope for a future. That knowledge that God is with me sustains me through the darker, less positive times and I am so grateful for that. If I am fearful, God’s presence lifts me and gives me courage, caution or whatever else I might need at that time.
Some may struggle with mental health and feeling low, lonely and depressed can become difficult to bear and impossible to ‘overcome’. It is an illness and needs to be treated as such. Call the doctor, get help, if you are able to, ask friends to pray for you. When it might be impossible to pray in your usual way, simply sit in the quiet and be conscious of your breathing. Read Psalm 46, particularly verses 10-11 ‘”Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.’
For those not suffering in this way, be the hope that others are losing, remember them in your prayers and ask God to place that seed of hope back into the hearts of those who are suffering.
May God bless each one of you, be present with you and be your light and your joy whatever the circumstances.
Revd Gerri Tetzlaff