The eye cannot say to the hand...

Published on Mon, 18 May 2020 09:33
Vicar's Blog

Dear all 

Yesterday's contretemps with Zoom drove home to me how vital human contact is, in this time of lockdown. I could see, as host, the repeated attempts to log in, sometimes on several different appliances, and then the smile of success when people finally arrived - or the plain frustration when names disappeared off the screen as people gave up the struggle! 

I was also reading yesterday about the surprise which some have felt at how effectively, overall, the lockdown has been observed. There have been many reasons given for this. Some say it's because of fear, because we are scared of being infected. That may be part of it, and is entirely understandable. But for me - and for many - the real surprise has been the sense that people are observing the lockdown for one another - for the NHS - for the common good. Pro bono publico. This sense of solidarity, in the face of questionable communication and governance, has created in me a hope for the future - that things really may be different. It's an affirmation of the words of Paul in the first letter to the Corinthians: 

The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you', nor again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you.'  (1 Cor 12.21) 

Please, in that context, remember the Bridge at Waterloo and the team of St John's people who are putting together our new project, specifically responding to the COVID crisis. It's called 'Waterloo Well,' and will address the challenges presented by high unemployment, high levels of mental illness and potentially serious poverty especially among young people and homeless people. We are planning to work with the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and many other local organisations to offer support, training, counselling and practical help. More on this soon, but in the meantime please pray that it comes together and helps to meet the urgent emergent needs. 

Ascension Day's service will be accessed through the usual Zoom link (technology permitting!) and will start at 5pm. The bells will be rung beforehand, hurrah! 

As you probably know, the Foodbank is now working on deliveries only. They are supporting far more people than usual and need our help. Here are some suggestions from Rebekah Gibson, the Foodbank Coordinator: 

I know many of you are feeling frustrated not to be able to be involved, so I thought I would suggest a couple of things that we would really appreciate. -       

Organise a neighbourhood food collection. I will email more details if you are interested, but many people are organising (distanced) food collections on their street/in their block. If it's a reasonable collection, we can arrange to have it picked up, so this shouldn't be a problem. We could also provide crates, publicity material etc.(NB - St John's could be a collection point if you wanted to deliver food to here). 

We have had to purchase quite a large amount of food, and have also been having 2 tonnes donated direct from Tesco each week at the moment, but this is likely to stop, so we need to get creative and up our public donations again. 

-       Use community networks/sharing on social media to advertise our food donation points in supermarkets and our fundraising page.   -       If you don't already, follow us on social media @WaterlooFB on Twitter and Instagram,  /waterloofoodbank on Facebook. 

The more engagement we have, the more posts will draw the attention of possible donors/supporters etc, so do like/retweet/share the content if possible.

And finally today I share with you, for no particular reason, one of my favourite poems. It was read by my sister at Shanon's and my Civil Partnership just over a year ago. It speaks, perhaps, into the truth that the eye cannot say to the hand, 'I do not need you.' It's by Kate Clanchy and called

Poem for a Man with No Sense of Smell

by Kate Clanchy

This is simply to inform you:

that the thickest line in the kink of my hand
smells like the feel of an old school desk,
the deep carved names worn sleek with sweat;

that beneath the spray of my expensive scent
my armpits sound a bass note strong
as the boom of a palm on a kettle drum;

that the wet flush of my fear is sharp
as the taste of an iron pipe, midwinter,
on a child's hot tongue; and that sometimes,

in a breeze, the delicate hairs on the nape
of my neck, just where you might bend
your head, might hesitate and brush your lips,

hold a scent frail and precise as a fleet
of tiny origami ships, just setting out to sea.

With love, as ever


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