A different kind of Sunday
We are certainly living in challenging times! Yesterday (Sunday) was not the Sunday we are
We opened St Peter’s Church all day, but we didn’t see anyone go in. The idea was that people might want to say a prayer or two, providing of course they kept their distance one from another.
At 10.45am I went over and had what might be called a private communion service. I stood at the altar and silently read through the usual service (including collect, readings, etc) and consumed the consecrated bread and wine on my own. I did this as a representative of the people of the parish, and tried to hold them in mind all the while. I would not normally think to celebrate Communion on my own, as to me the Communion is a communion with PEOPLE as well as with God. But in the circumstances it seemed appropriate enough.
Gail watched from a distance, following the service as best she could. I didn’t preach a sermon to myself, in case anyone is wondering!
At 7pm I silently read through the Evensong service in church. Again, Gail watched from a distance, independently doing the same.
If anyone else had come through the door they would have been welcome to follow Gail’s example, but, given all the advice about isolating ourselves, I am NOT encouraging others to come. (“Please don’t come to church!” Who thought two months ago we’d be saying that?)
I think a few other folk have been trying to identify with the regular worship of the church in one way or another. Many probably lit a candle at 7pm and put it in the window of their homes, as suggested by the Archbishop to show solidarity in prayer.
Unless I am advised otherwise, I am thinking to do the same next week. So the worship still goes up after a fashion. Also, we will produce some suggestions for private worship and reflection at home.
We are all going to need stamina – spiritual, psychological, physical, communal – in the weeks ahead. Many of us have never faced such a challenge. We are reminded by all this how lucky and blessed we normally are. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if normality could return tomorrow? So we could have the luxury of arguing about Brexit and buying as much toilet paper as we wanted in the supermarket! But in the same way that the weather will improve, so will our lives – providing we follow the advice about staying healthy! We all need to be thinking about, and praying for, each other. “God is our hope and strength: a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear...” is the start of Psalm 46. Try reading through the whole psalm and let it speak to your soul.