It Doesn’t Have to be This Way

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said “Disconnection destroys us. It leads to panic buying, to growing fear and to spiritual, emotional and physical isolation”

It’s not normal for people to live in isolation. In times of crisis our instinct is to join together to be with other people. I felt this just this week when I had a call from one of Keystone’s carers to say that his wife was coming to the end of her life. My instinct was to go to him to hold him and pray with him – but that is simply not possible. How can we minister to people at this time?

The news headlines are not helpful as they constantly tell us the bad news, how many people have died, not enough personal protection equipment in hospitals and care homes etc. We are told of shortages in shops and the importance of only shopping for essentials! But what is essential for me (chocolate) may not be essential for you. It’s no surprise that many of us are feeling anxious and those who already struggle with anxiety and depression will be struggling more than others.

But it doesn’t have to be like this.

Psalm 94:19 says “When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” David knew what it was like to be in hiding, alone with fear of death but he remembered all that God had promised, all that God had done and all that God is.

I keep a journal of thoughts, feelings and especially of the things God says and does in my life and I give thanks for them. When we are anxious we forget the good things that God has done and is doing but it’s good to remember the good things He has done for us.

Another part of my daily routine is to write down things to be thankful for. Sometimes these may be very simple things but at this Easter time we have a lot to give thanks for.

As I worked through the Easter Vigil prepared by Amanda, I was alone in quiet, the only sound I could hear was bird song in the garden. I found it hugely emotional reading the well-known passages, listening to worship songs and praying. As I read slowly through John 18 and 19 I realised again what a great sacrifice Jesus made for me, that I could be forgiven. If you haven’t followed the readings yet, do, quietly and alone.

The cross we made on Palm Sunday was near me as I read, listened and prayed and as words, phrases, verses and lines from songs came to mind, I wrote them on that cross. Every one of us could write down today what we are thankful for starting with what Jesus has done for us.

What can we do to encourage each other. We can phone, email, Facebook, Skype and Zoom. When we contact each other don’t dwell on the bad news but be encouraging with the good. A friend of mine suggested that instead of asking “How are you?” We begin a conversation with “Do you remember when . . . ?” I tried that this week when I called a long standing friend. We ended up laughing at all the memories and things we had shared, some of them things we had forgotten until that moment.

On Sunday, Easter Day, a day of joy and celebration, we will be unable to share the peace with others as we usually do but we can send a text, make a call or email after the service. We can still pass on the Easter greeting; we can still be in touch with others and we can still share our thoughts, thanks and fears with others.

The Peace of the Lord be with you.

Jane