01 May Vicars’ Blog June 2020 – Life-giving habits
“Thanks to all in the parish who are showing how much more the church is more than ‘just a building.’” Another note of thanks and appreciation to Aaron from the happy recipient of a doorstep loaf. Somehow these inspiring doorstep loaves are evidence of a loving, caring community. This is a good example of how, although this lockdown season has tested us in ways none of us could have foreseen, there are some rays of sunshine in the new ways we are doing things. As we have adapted to staying at home, we have discovered or rediscovered some life-giving habits like personal prayer, serving others and church in our homes. During this difficult time, many are finding strength and even flourishing. The hashtag “the church is not the building” has been proven!
We have been brought together, sometimes sharing our needs for prayer and practical help, sometimes praying, and giving practical help to others. Our “good deeds” are shining out to people around Walton on Thames. Like the lamp that is not hidden under a bushel, the love of God shines out. “We can’t help it, because God has blessed us, we want to bless you!” The church is caring, loving, thoughtful people.
As we start to think about “returning to normal”, our prayer is that we would not lose some of the life-giving habits we have discovered. The church cannot be restricted. The church is in the building and out of the building, we are the church in our homes and in the community.
Having got used to the restrictions that Covid-19 has forced upon us, are there things we really value and don’t want to lose from our lives? Do we have to “go back to normal?” Aware that some people are desperate for children to go back to school and to get back to work and worried about their job future, let’s just suppose that there have been good things in this time and not rush to put everything back exactly as it was. Can we find what God may be preparing for us as we move towards normal? What is it that we have prayerfully discovered should be left behind?
Many have been discovering things that are life giving – having more time with immediate family and eating meals with their children, Zoom calls with wider family, seeing more of their neighbours, doing regular exercise (which you have always wanted to do). For some, there has been time to prioritise Zoom church services and the Bible Course evening group, or get into a routine of reading the Bible and praying before work (which you have always wanted to do), reading stories at bedtime with children and praying together as a family.
How will we respond to what we are discovering? As we choose to put God first and allow time to feed our souls, we find that God’s values are very much aligned with our heart of hearts. Before we rush to get back to normal, let us hold onto those life-giving habits we have found during lockdown.
As a church, we hope we can continue to be “the church in the building and out of the building, in our homes and in the community”. God bless you all,