Rector's Letter                                                                                         1 April 2020

2020 is a year that will be writ large in the history books.  There have been a number of seismic changes within just a few short weeks, and we will all be reacting in differing ways depending on our age, gender, personality types, and life experience.  At first glance, it could appear that all the structure that held our world in place has been dismantled.  But there is still God, and God is still there.
Lockdown might seem hard, particularly as we do not have an end date.  But please do not rail against it, it is there for a reason, to help save lives: your life, the life of another, the life of an NHS worker who may be able to save hundreds of others.  Imagine if this had happened 100 years ago before tv, computers, smartphones, central heating, fridges, and when many households might live in a single room without indoor plumbing and not even possess a book.   Well, there are still people living in similar circumstances. We have so much for which to be grateful.  As an Indian doctor has posted, ‘Social distancing is a privilege.  It means you live in a house large enough to practise it.  Hand washing is a privilege too.  It means you have access to running water.  Hand sanitisers are a privilege.  It means you have money to buy them.  Lockdowns are a privilege.  It means you can afford to be at home.  Most of the ways to ward the Corona off are accessible only to the affluent.  In essence, a disease that was spread by the rich as they flew around the globe will now kill millions of the poor.  All of us who are practising social distancing and have imposed a lockdown on ourselves must appreciate how privileged we are.  Many Indians won’t be able to do any of this.’

Imagine living in a refugee camp of thousands of people, in a crowded tent with only two tents’ walls between you and the next family; or in a slum shanty town in a large city where the bit of zinc sheeting you scavenged is also the wall of the next door shelter, where there is no sanitation, no work, no food.  

May our minds be informed by scripture and, when we find ourselves being anxious or complaining, turn things around so that we have the attitude of Christ.  And, like Christ, may our lives be filled with prayer and compassion.  God wants us to be honest when we pray; and one of the things prayer does, as the psalmists often found, is to change our attitude.

Do not be anxious about anything but, in everything, with prayer and petition and with thanksgiving, make your request known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

So, let us pray in this sort of fashion, 'Lord, I am finding it difficult that ... but I thank you that.....  And I pray for those who do not have a roof over their head; who have nowhere to go to self-isolate but know that they are infecting their families; who do not have access to any food at all; who do not have a clean supply of running water; whose countries do not have a Health Service; where there is no support from either the government, food banks, or friends who have enough to be able to share; who have no access to the numerous forms of entertainment we can enjoy; whose country is also riven with warfare, civil unrest, or diseases such as ebola ...  Change my attitude, Lord, and help me to consider how I can best help others.  Help me to see where I can offer practical help, prayer, and encouragement.  May words of praise be ever on my lips, and fill my heart with the peace that passes all understanding as I trust you and also use my common sense.  Amen'

If you are not already a member of a life group, but would like to be linked to one, or do not have a ‘buddy system’ where you are in daily contact with one or two others to offer support and provide a safety network, then please let us know.

With love in Christ, Susie

 

2020 is a year that will be writ large in the history books.  There have been a number of seismic changes within just a few short weeks, and we will all be reacting in differing ways depending on our age, personality types, and life experience.  At first glance it could appear that all the structure that held our world in place has been dismantled.  But there is still God, and God is still there.

 

Lockdown might seem hard, particularly as we do not have an end date.  But please do not rail against it, it is there for a reason, to help save lives: your life, the life of another, the life of an NHS worker who may be able to save hundreds of others.  Imagine if this had happened 100 years ago before tv, computers, smartphones, central heating, fridges, and when many households might live in a single room without indoor plumbing and not even possess a book.   Well, there are still people living in similar circumstances. We have so much for which to be grateful.  As an Indian doctor has posted, ‘Social distancing is a privilege.  It means you live in a house large enough to practise it.  Hand washing is a privilege too.  It means you have access to running water.  Hand sanitisers are a privilege.  It means you have money to buy them.  Lockdowns are a privilege.  It means you can afford to be at home.  Most of the ways to ward the Corona off are accessible only to the affluent.  In essence, a disease that was spread by the rich as they flew around the globe will now kill millions of the poor.  All of us who are practising social distancing and have imposed a lockdown on ourselves must appreciate how privileged we are.  Many Indians won’t be able to do any of this.’

 

Imagine living in a refugee camp of thousands of people, in a crowded tent with only two tents’ walls between you and the next family; or in a slum shanty town in a large city where the bit of zinc sheeting you scavenged is also the wall of the next door shelter, where there is no sanitation, no work, no food.  

 

May our minds be informed by scripture and, when we find ourselves being anxious or complaining, turn things around so that we have the attitude of Christ.  And, like Christ, may our lives be filled with prayer and compassion.  God wants us to be honest when we pray; and one of the things prayer does, as the psalmists often found, is to change our attitude.

 

Do not be anxious about anything but, in everything, with prayer and petition and with thanksgiving, make your request known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

 

So, let us pray in this sort of fashion, 'Lord, I am finding it difficult that ... but I thank you that.....  And I pray for those who do not have a roof over their head; who have nowhere to go to self-isolate but know that they are infecting their families; who do not have access to any food at all; who do not have a clean supply of running water; whose countries do not have a Health Service; where there is no support from either the government, food banks, or friends who have enough to be able to share; who have no access to the numerous forms of entertainment we can enjoy; whose country is also riven with warfare, civil unrest, or diseases such as ebola ...  Change my attitude, Lord, and help me to consider how I can best help others.  Help me to see where I can offer practical help, prayer, and encouragement.  May words of praise be ever on my lips, and fill my heart with the peace that passes all understanding as I trust you and also use my common sense.  Amen'

 

If you are not already a member of a life group, but would like to be linked to one, or do not have a ‘buddy system’ where you are in daily contact with one or two others to offer support and provide a safety network, then please let us know.

 

With love in Christ, Susie

 

Deborah Mathews, 30/09/2019