I think the word of the week is 'perseverance.' As we learn whether we can, or can't, emerge from the lockdown - whether we can, or can't, go back to work - whether we can, or can't, start services in church again - I'm picking up a mingled sense of frustration and hope. The desire to be out of all this is palpable, especially from those who are far separated from friends and family or those who are at such close quarters it's becoming a trial. But the drip drip drip of news which undermines attempts to lift the restrictions makes us cautious, and perhaps makes some of us feel something close to despair. Perseverance becomes, at times like this, a crucial quality: keeping going when the rewards seem slight and the road is long.
This week, we are remembering Mother Julian of Norwich, whose day was last Friday. She was a fine example for us, and an exemplar in all sorts of ways. Living in the plague-torn and violent city of Norwich in the fourteenth century, she spent most of her life, after a night of mystical visions, in her anchorite's cell. She meditated deeply and wrote wisely, and gave spiritual counsel to all who came.
"He said not 'Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be dis-eased'; but he said, 'Thou shalt not be overcome."
Lisa's sermon from Sunday touches on the same themes, as she reflects on how over the last few weeks God has escaped from the church building and been found all over the place! So what does it mean for us, asks Lisa, now that God has so obviously broken out - out of particular buildings, out into communities? And what does it mean for us that God has broken in - into homes, dwelling places, rooms; into hearts and minds. Do read it.
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And if you want to know more about Hans Feibusch, the painter of the Crucifixion in church there's an excellent article by Beth McHattie on the Waterloo Festival website along with much other fantastic content. Read it and circulate! It's something we can be proud of!
With much love, on this day, and wishing you all the perseverance you need...