Rev John's May Jottings

27 May 20

For the majority of people around the world, the coronavirus has brought rapid change in ways of living.  One of the greatest impacts must be the social distancing.  As human beings, the forbidding of human touch and staying at least two metres apart may not only bring a sense of isolation but at times even a sense of rejection.  As someone has said, ‘A hug speaks more than a thousand words’!

For those of us who enjoy going to church, there is a part in the service called ‘The peace’.  It’s when each person turns to their nearest neighbour, but more often to the whole congregation and says to each individual, while offering a handshake or an embrace, ‘The peace of the Lord be always with you’ and the response is given, ’and also with you’!’

This tradition goes back many years and it reflects the acknowledgement and appreciation of the person to whom ‘the peace’ is offered and received.  It also reflects the loving and caring relationships that should permeate the church.  However, in the current situation we all find ourselves in, sadly our churches are closed and we cannot offer one another ‘the peace’.  As a sideline, this is a very strong case to remind ourselves that ‘church’ is not a building but more to do with relationships between people and continues outside the building. So, although our church buildings are closed, ‘the church’ as people continues outside the building in acts of kindness and practical help to all.

‘Peace’ is a precious commodity and often in short supply.  You can’t buy it, you can’t pretend you have it, you’ve either got it or you haven’t.  In many ways you have to search for it to find it; you have to receive it and share it. The ‘peace’ that we are talking about in church is, ‘The peace of the Lord’, because it was said by our Lord to His followers on a number of occasions; especially after the first Easter, which we have been celebrating in the Christian calendar in April this year.  After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples on numerous occasions and greeted them with those words, ’Peace be with you, do not be afraid’.  When all seemed to come to an end at the death of this amazing man, who claimed to be the son of God, the followers had lost heart and even faith. But their faith and joy were restored at our Lord’s resurrection from the dead that Easter Sunday morning, proving that He is indeed the son of God.

We may be feeling we are losing heart and even faith during the events of the coronavirus outbreak, which leads to lack of peace.  But it’s important to remember that there is a peace that can be found. As our Lord said,

'Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.  Trust in God, trust also in me.’  Perhaps now is the time for you to grasp God’s hand – it’s probably the only hand outside your household which you can grasp with any confidence!

Wishing you God’s blessings as we travel together through this difficult time.

Rev John

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Unfortunately Rev. John is no longer with us and we are without a vicar at present,  but the church is still here

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