It's Church....but not as we knew it.
For many, being locked out of church for three months has been difficult. Communal worship is for many an essential part of their spiritual well-being. We have tried to provide a variety of resources to compensate but it is not the same as gathering around the altar as a community to celebrate the Eucharist together. I have been thinking recently about persecuted Christians, imprisoned for their faith, or the stance they have taken against a corrupt government, cut off from the life of the church and having to rely on hymns and portions of the Bible they could remember by heart for their spiritual sustenance. Driving through the country lanes and looking at the fields coming to harvest I see crops that are not doing as well as they often are due, in part, to the abysmal weather of winter and spring. I thought of the parable of the sower and the fate of seeds landing in different places. I thought about the quality of the roots that they are able to put down. I wonder about our own spiritual roots and what we have been able to tap into that has helped sustain us through these barren months of spiritual wilderness…
But the end is in sight… well, the beginning of the end… possibly. We hope to open the doors for public worship (a communion service on the 12th) but it will be very different from what we are used to. The service will not be too dissimilar from the midweek communion that used to be on Wednesday mornings: it will be short (about 30 minutes), we have to record contact details of everyone who attends the service for the purposes of ‘test and trace’ should someone develop symptoms, we are not allowed to sing, only the bread can be received in communion… and that in silence!, seating is limited and socially distanced, and the service will be recorded on video so that those who, for whatever reason, are unable to come to the service can continue to join us via the YouTube channel. I suspect the new way of doing church, that is necessary at present, will feel very strange and remind us that we are still in the wilderness.