Holy Week and Easter seems a long time ago! After all the engagement and intensity of that week - for which I am grateful - Lisa and I both had a few days break. Then I've been working with the Church Council and the Bridge at Waterloo to try to find a way forward for us as a church and as a charity. It's a challenging situation, and I am really grateful for all the support, and donations, and creative thinking which is going on. It was good to try to take time out, but it is also good to be fully back in touch with everyone and to see how many different ways we are finding to support and stay in touch with one another.
I was taken aback when I saw that the benches in the churchyard (see Ulrike's picture above) had been taped off. It felt like one of the saddest images - a bit like the half-polished floor in the church. As the lockdown enters its fourth week it feels as though the adrenaline which was keeping many of us going is wearing off, and somehow this situation is becoming normalised. I know that it is really hard for many of you, either alone or in a crowded home with little outside space. I hope that our different ways of communicating, as a church, are helpful. We are keen to offer any other support we can.
I hope you received Newsletter no 5 yesterday! I am very excited about the launch of the Waterloo Festival next week. Euchar and his team have done fantastic work setting up this new thing and I hope lots of you will be involved in different ways. It will be a celebration of community and of Waterloo.
I am also excited that Nicola is leading an online Rule of Life evening next Wednesday, 29th April at 6 p.m. Nicola says "Covid offers us this opportunity to really practise what we preach..and in many ways we are reaping the benefits...focus on prayer, finding God in all things, the importance of community...just being there. The evening session will offer prayer space of course, but also the opportunity to listen to/ gather each other's wisdom. Like little testimonials. Which in turn could lead to a website resource for the wider community, with invitations to explore further what St John's offers...."
You will be very welcome to join the Rule of Life evening, whether you are currently keeping a Rule or not. There's more about the ideas behind the Rule here. I will circulate the link and login details early next week. It would also be very good to have any thoughts about how we can build a supportive spiritual resource for one another and for others who may be seeking one, at this time.
Our Sunday services will take place as normal (!), with the links and the service sheets available on our Virtual Services page. There is also a link there to the recordings of the Dawn Mass, of Duncan's sermon for Easter Sunday which very much repays watching, and our Passion Gospel and Passiontide services.
My prayers are with our Muslim brothers and sisters as they begin the Holy Month of Ramadan tonight. I'm looking forward to the time, in a couple of years, when Lent and Ramadan coincide. That would be a powerful symbol of our common humanity under God.
For me, the word of the week is 'doggedness.' We are all keeping going, aren't we, perhaps afraid about the future, perhaps feeling frustrated or bored or alone. We have no option but to carry on, and I have a strong sense of people trying to make the best of things. For me, the undergirding support of regular prayer is vital, and a real consciousness of trying to ground my life in the love of God. I am also inspired byRichard Rohr's daily emails, which are looking at Theresa of Avila and St John of the Cross, this week. Here is a brief extract:
John of the Cross's core intuition is that the Infinite Love that is the architect of our hearts has made our hearts in such a way that nothing less than an infinite union with Infinite Love will do. It's the setup in the beginning. For Infinite Love to create us in the image of itself is for Infinite Love to create us as a capacity to receive the forms of Infinite Love as our destiny. That love is our origin, love is our ground. That Infinite Love creates us as a capacity for love, for love's sake alone. Love is the fabric of the true nature of everything that's happening. This is the love nature of life.
Finally, I know that we are all receiving many emails and other communications. So I am planning that we should send these every other day from now on. But if you feel that that's too often or that something else would be better - or have suggestions - do let me know.
Thank you, and with my love and prayers, as ever