This is my mum.
Over the past couple of months, Mum has walked dogs, collected prescriptions and been shopping. She's been out for hours, driven miles and has knocked on many doors (keeping appropriate social distance, of course). All of that got her nominated to receive the flowers she's holding. Mum is part of a group called 'Southam Community Spirit'; they have around 70 volunteers now, doing what they can to serve their community and bring their community together at this time.
There are groups like that up and down the country and communities have also come together in other ways in the past weeks, whether that's clapping for the NHS, remotely sharing an Iftar (breaking of the Ramadan fast at sunset) or making straps for face masks for key workers (to stop the masks rubbing behind the ears) - and the list goes on.
I think we at St John's have come together and shown community spirit too, as we have gathered on Zoom for worship and coffee, for Rule of Life evenings and Face to Faith. We have perhaps got to know each other better than before and have maybe shared in deeper conversations too.
I think 'community spirit' comes down to relationship. We are all in relationship with others, in some way. The thing about relationships is that they should be reciprocal. They should not just be one-way.
One of my tendencies is to be fiercely independent. However, although that's not altogether a bad thing, it's important to recognise that - as humans, we are meant to be interdependent. We should give and serve and allow others to give to and serve us.
I am reminded of the first (and last) verse of one of the hymns I chose for my first Mass as a priest:
Brother, sister, let me serve you
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant too.
At the heart of our faith is the Gospel, the Good News revealed in Christ Jesus. In our service of others we seek to reflect the love of God - that unconditional love which Giles wrote about earlier this week. It is a love that we are called to seek to show for each other - and sometimes, we will fall short of that, but God's unconditional love for us is constant and unwavering. I will leave you now with the words that I often use at the introduction to the Peace:
God is love; those who live in love live in God and God lives in them.
(1 John 4:16)
Take care of yourselves and those whom you will love and serve today.
7 May 2020