As many of us are now working from home in some form or other, we thought it would be interesting to explore how we are finding this. Let us know your experience by clicking on this post.
You can now join Rev Hannah and Rev Delia online as they deliver the latest service.
Revd Hannah writes:
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.
This Sunday we start the journey together through Holy Week to Easter Day. The path takes us through the heart of the Christian faith and offers us again a chance to pray, reflect, worship and grow in personal knowledge and understanding of the message of Jesus Christ, which he both told in sayings and parables, and acted out in his suffering, death and resurrection.
So that we can all share this journey, we will be providing simple reflections and liturgies for use at home.
I have been reflecting this week on the word “different” and how differently we are being forced to live. Our usual routines of getting up, leaving the house and commuting to work or school or to meet family and friends has changed. Accepting these differences can be frightening but differences can offer opportunities to try new things and live in an altered way.
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, he was presenting kingship in a different way. The people of the first century were used to a king riding into a city on a mighty steed. People were encouraged to cheer for a conquering king out of necessity and fear. The people who cheered as Jesus rode from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem were raising their voices in hopeful expectation. This man, Jesus, who had spoken so many times of the Kingdom of God coming near, could be the Messiah and he could be riding into the city to overthrow the ruling authorities. Jesus was offering something different and as we see through Holy Week, he was coming as a servant king. This is not what the people would have wanted. They wanted a conquering hero. The journey from elation on Palm Sunday to desolation on Good Friday as Jesus died on the cross must have been a rollercoaster of emotions for the disciples and the crowd who cheered Jesus’ arrival only a few days earlier. We can take the same journey in the week ahead as we think about how Jesus expressed his servant heart leadership, encouraging us to love God and love others. By washing the disciple’s feet, we are encouraged to serve our communities. In the garden he prayed “not mine will but yours be done”, he knew he would be sacrificially giving up his life on a cross.
So, as we come to terms with our “new normal” we have the chance this week to embrace once again the difference Jesus offers for our lives in his life, death and resurrection. I hope you will embrace this difference so that it might become part of your new normal.
Rev Hannah writes:
As I wander around the garden enjoying the sunshine, it is hard to believe that all is not right in the world. However, over the last week our lives have changed beyond recognition. We are discouraged from going out; we are encouraged to keep our distance from one another and we are having to find new ways to work and communicate. These changes in our lives can make us feel hopeless, depressed, fearful and anxious. The psalm for this Sunday is Psalm 130, which I think is very apt for the situation we find ourselves in. I hope it offers you some comfort, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice!” and “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; For with the Lord there is steadfast love.”
Amidst all the challenges, we are rediscovering our humanity and what it means to help one another. I know in our own communities people are reaching out to help others in need.
Even the smallest acts of generosity can make an impression. This week, our daughter Rachael went to pick up her regular medication and she asked the pharmacist if she could buy some extra paracetamol which is usually prescribed for me. The pharmacist told her unfortunately she could not have an extra box at this time. As Rachael got into her car, the man who had been standing in the queue behind her, tapped on her car window and handed her another box of paracetamol and said, “these are for your mum.” This small act of kindness made a big impression. I wonder, how and who we can help this week? Where and to whom can we demonstrate God’s steadfast love?
These are interesting times as our communities respond to the Coronavirus pandemic. Our website aims to give you central access to the resources we can offer you whilst our church buildings are closed.
We hope to also give you a flavour of the life within our parishes and in each of our churches: whilst all are quite distinct from each other, we share a common heritage built on tradition and a common vision for our churches to be attractive to all, ministering and nurturing our faith and our lives with spiritual leadership and guidance.
Rev Hannah writes:
These are confusing times for us all.
I know I am feeling bereft as I am unable to meet with family and friends and unable to meet to share Communion and worship God together. I was also looking forward to getting out and about in the communities and getting to know people and I will do this as soon as the situation changes. I am also conscious that at the moment our national efforts are about slowing the infection rates of this disease but as this crisis develops we will need to respond in our communities to families who are facing financial hardships because of this virus.
In the meantime, stay safe and well by following the advice which is being given to us.
As we gradually come to terms with the constraints of our situation, a reminder of the opportunities which we already have:
- There is a weekly service on Radio 4 on Sundays at 8.15am and a daily service on Radio 4 Long wave at 9.45am
- The Diocese of Guildford has information about what is going on, and not only about the virus! https://www.cofeguildford.org.uk
- The Church of England website includes access to services, under the heading of Prayer and Worship. https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-liturgy-and-prayer-resources
An encouragement to all of us to keep in contact and watch out for those friends and neighbours who may be in need of help.
Church buildings are now closed
Rev Hannah writes:
This is unlike any other Mothering Sunday I have known: some of us are mothers, but all of us are called to mothering in the sense of caring, nurturing, protecting and providing for others. Our present crisis goes to the heart of everyday mothering: food, homes, livelihood, community, safety. Praying for mothers and mothering today has a poignant tone. It makes us all the more aware of our need for God and of the joy of hu-man love, and our responsibility to each other, both to offer and, where we need it, to ask for care
We have set up this new joint parishes website so we can better keep in touch during the closure of our church buildings.