The time that we have
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
I expect many of you might have said something similar, as we have lived, and some died, through the past twelve months of the pandemic in the UK. But it is true, it is no good regretting our own living, being caught up in this awful time. We are here and Covid is here and quite simply that's that! I do quite often think though, that I am glad my parents didn't live through this time, as it would have been hard for them for many reasons. I think too I would have felt more guilty too! We have to make the best of where we are and what we have. We can't change what is happening in the world at the moment, all we can do is decide how to face it, and how to react. There is still so much to be grateful for each day and yes, we are human we will feel frustrated, fed up and saddened some days.
We all have regrets, things we haven't done, and realised that we should have embraced. Things we might have said, shared, spoken about, said in homilies or churches, the phone call we didn't make or the flowers we should have taken etc. I think this paints the picture. There will always be things left undone or unsaid, but we all have the opportunity to embrace what we do have and own for the better, for the richer, for the bigger picture.
Now this isn't negative at all, it is a part of being human. Did you get up today excited to be alive? Did you experience God clearly in devotions and prayers? Did you try and serve God's people in what you were doing? It is we, who have to make the decisions about what we can do - or not - and shielding or being in isolation or just living in Covid days isn't an excuse. It is rather a door to open and new ways of doing things, to be experienced. I have a friend who sends an e-card each Sunday, a Jackie Lawson card, where she tries to keep in touch with as many people as possible in this simple message and a cheery card. It is a new way of service for her and has maintained it now since last March. It is welcome because as she "chats" about the river, flowers, family and wildlife she is being a good companion via the ether. Another friend endeavours to write a short card to friends and fellow villagers each week as she remains shielded to stay in touch. A man I know here in St Athan, bakes each week several times, and cuts the cake into portions and delivers to the doors of those alone or facing loneliness. A simple action for each of these people, but making other peoples' day. All of these would not have been done prior to the Covid situation and are new ways of service.
The Church and a living faith is important, but has to be bigger, greater than just worship, the church has to be self giving and alongside those who need Her. It would be easy to immerse oneself as a priest in the holy, but to get ones hands dirty is to meet with Christ and serve him, perhaps in creative and new ways. One church making boxes of food and activities for children who have profound needs in their home environments in lockdown. Here in our villages, the schools are looking out with food for children who otherwise might go hungry in lockdown. So many are plating an extra dish to take a warm dinner to someone alone or elderly and are so appreciated. I can remember being reprimanded for doing a little washing up as a curate and being told off by my training incumbent, you need to be seen out there! I agree you can't hide in the kitchen, but equally the Church is as much in the washing up as being seen "out there" in the church. There is need for both! This is even more important in the community where we can't hide behind our "bells and smells," of worship.
We have so much and of course we all miss being in Church for worship and receiving the Holy sacrament, but we need to be able to take what we hear, into the world. We need to decide what we do after worship and how to live out our faith in the community around us.
"Go the mass is ended
children of the Lord.
Take his Word to others,
as you heard it spoken to you!"