In these unusual times many of us feel as if we are charting completely unfamiliar waters.
I take some strength from the fact that we do not sail these waters alone. The many key workers keeping our essential services running; decision makers in parliament and elsewhere working hard to address the challenges facing us; people singing to one another from balconies; academic and cultural institutions opening their online doors for free; local volunteers, including faith groups, who have organised to support the most vulnerable in our communities – all are significant reminders of our shared humanity and hope in the midst of uncertainty and the unfolding news about COVID-19.
As I talk with people, the sense of being unable to control circumstances as we would want to, is for many, one of the most challenging aspects of our present experience.
We human beings like certainty – when things are uncertain, it’s normal for us feel stressed. In such times, may we be reminded that we not only have one another as companions, but we also find shelter beside the One who stills the most violent of storms. This week I’ve found strength in the words of a spiritual counsellor and writer of the 14th Century. Mother Julian lived in Norwich, an important centre for commerce, but during her lifetime the city was also witness to the devastating effects of the Black Death of 1348–50, the Peasants’ Revolt, which affected large parts of England in 1381, and the suppression of the Lollards. Hers were not easy, untroubled times and so she wrote:
‘God did not say, you will not be troubled, you will not be laboured, you will not be disquieted; but God said, you will not be overcome.’
If you are looking for additional resources to help you until we can meet again at St Mary’s you may want to remember that there is a daily service on BBC Radio 4 every morning at 9:45am. BBC One broadcasts Songs of Praise every Sunday at 1:15pm.
There are also many online resources providing daily prayers and readings including:
Revd Tricia Hillas