As we grow in maturity we often have the experience of having to put things down, or let things go, in order to take up better things, things that are more important. We might have to give up expensive holidays in order to buy a house. We might have to let go of our social life when we have children.
The Coronavirus is forcing us to let go of so many things; trips to pubs and restaurants, visits to friends and relations, sporting events, holidays, church services, baptisms and weddings. Many people have lost their jobs or have been furloughed. Businesses have lost revenue. People have lost their health. Some people have died. Some people have lost loved ones. It is a story of loss.
We need to remember that these loses have been either willed or allowed by God, as part of his great love for us. It is a question of discovering what God wants to give us, now that so much has been taken away. Perhaps we have more time to spend with our families. Perhaps we can spend time in the garden and reconnect with nature. Perhaps we can do more reading, work on our hobbies, or improve our online skills. Perhaps a renewed appreciation of homelife will emerge. Perhaps we will realise our need of God. Perhaps a discipline of daily prayer or bible study can be re-established.
For me personally there has been an experience of losing and receiving with this May edition of the Parish Magazine. I really value the magazine, and I was very delighted by the way that many people rallied round, and, despite several problems, we managed to deliver the April edition to almost everyone. Then at the end of March the CofE introduced new Coronavirus guidance saying that parishes should not be making deliveries through mailboxes, but rather should send things through the post. I thought the new guidance was very ill advised, and clearly it was not economically viable to deliver the parish magazine through the post. But slowly I realised that I had to let go of the May edition of the Parish Magazine. It took me a long time to accept this, but on 11th April I finally emailed PCC members to explain that we could not do a May edition. Perhaps I was gaining obedience! Then on 13th April someone generously and anonymously offered to pay for postal delivery of the May edition! It felt like a wonderful gift from God. Thank you!
May you too be ready to receive wonderful gifts from God!
With prayers and best wishes, Fr Patrick
Prayer in tribulation
O Heavenly Father,
I praise and thank you for all your goodness
and faithfulness throughout my life.
You have granted me many blessings.
Now let me accept tribulation from your hand.
You will not lay on me more than I can bear.
You will make all things work together for good
for your children. Amen Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)