I’ve been greatly moved and deeply humbled talking to people who are reaching out and caring for and supporting others at this time – a time that remains very challenging in so many ways for many people. Among those I speak to are professionals in the NHS and care sectors and also in education all of whom are working selflessly in unprecedented, sometimes unreasonable, circumstances for the good of others – often at great cost to themselves. As well as professionals I speak to people who reach out and help others in informal ways – sometimes doing shopping for neighbours who are needing to isolate, sometimes doing something as simple as picking up the telephone to stay in touch and to let people know who are isolated they are remembered and important and valued.
As the church calendar moves on from the season of Epiphany at the beginning of February to a short season of ‘ordinary time’ ahead of Lent, this time of year is traditionally one where we think about creation and our place in creation. The readings and the prayers in our church services help remind us that all of creation comes from God and we might therefore see something of God in creation – as we might see something of an artist in any great work of art! We’re reminded also that all people are created in God’s image and likeness and are of great importance to God: this might rightly affirm the importance of caring for others especially if they are vulnerable or in need.
Later this month we are offering a number of opportunities to help people to reflect together in more formal and informal ways using technology and opportunities to be involved if we’ve no access to technology. The theme around this prompts us to explore how we respond to others if we believe (as we do as Christians!) that all people are made in God’s image and likeness!
On Thursdays evenings in Lent (from 18th Feb) we are going to participate in the Diocesan Lent course on Racial Justice – how do we love our neighbour as ourselves (more details later in the magazine). On Mondays our book group are going to grapple with Mike Gayle’s book ‘Half a world away’ which will give some good material to reflect on together. We’re
also going to send questions, readings and prayers with information on how to buy the book for those not on technology.
We hope this will be a real time of personal growth and growth in community as we all continue to navigate our journeys of faith in these times. I end with the prayer set for first weekend of February:
Almighty God, you have created the heavens and the earth and made us in your own image:
teach us to discern your hand in all your works and your likeness in all your children; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord who, with you and the Holy Spirit, reigns supreme over all things, now and for ever. Amen.
With my continued prayers and very best wishes.