Karen's Column

Magazine article April 2020 – To the Cross and Out the Other Side

Writing this in the week leading up to Mothering Sunday and I don’t think it has ever seemed more difficult to project myself forward into the coming month/s than it is at this moment.  As I write, the country is gearing up to cope with the threat of COVID-19, but we are all still to some extent unsure of what the reality will be like.  Schools are getting ready to close, some businesses already have done and some people are gearing up to work from home.  In our churches public worship has been suspended and we are trying to put into place suitable ways to pray and worship together and to ‘be church’ without actually meeting in church as well as measures to keep people safe and to work out ways that we can help and support those in our communities who may become ill and or need to self-isolate or practice physical distancing.  Around the country, medical staff, businesses and individuals are having to make difficult decisions about how to behave in this new and uncertain environment. As I’m sure we are all very much aware social interaction is now more important than ever and we need to be creative about how we interact without being able to touch or possibly even be physically present for one another.

So the first thing to say is that, whether or not we are able to come to into church, the promise of Easter is that after the hard and painful road to the Cross which we remember and re-enact in Holy Week and especially on Good Friday, there is new life and resurrection round the corner.  That has been true over the millennia since Jesus first willingly came into our world of disease and suffering and trod that road for us, showing that absolutely nothing the world throws at us can separate us from the love of God.

Fear, like everything in our human makeup, can be a gift from God when used in the right way, to avoid danger, but it can also lead us astray if we let it get hold of us.  So the answer is not to deny our reasonable feelings of fear but to ask God to help us keep them in proportion, to use them rightly, and to give us the gift of love that is the only antidote. Over these coming weeks and months If you find yourself needing to self-isolate/physical distance (new phrases with which we are all becoming very familiar), either because of infection or to avoid infection, remember that if you need to talk about your fears or would like to pray or ask for other support, you can phone or email me on 01274 683776  nicholl.karen@googlemail.com or any of the pastoral ministers

At St Mary’s, Gomersal Linda Smith 01274 875308 linda.msmith@hotmail.com  and Brenda Swinton 01274 300072 brenda.swinton1@gmail.com

At St Paul’s, Birkenshaw Sheila Fawcett 07759662278 sheilaf42@btinternet.com

One thing we can all do is to pray for each other and keep in touch with vulnerable friends and neighbours by phone and email, while respecting their and our need to keep separate.  I am also suggesting that we may like to place a light (a candle, if it is safe to do so, or a lamp) in our front window each evening at 9pm and also on a Sunday morning at 10am to remind us that there is a light shining in the midst of darkness. I and many others will be saying prayers at this time for our communities and and it reminds us that we are all connected with one another even when we cannot meet in person. If you would like to join to pray with others take a look at the links below.

 "St. Mary's Church, Gomersal" on Facebook available from https://m.facebook.com/stmarysgomersal/?ref=bookmarks

St Mary’s ACNY website by going to www.stmarysgonersal.church

Please keep an eye on the "News and Notices" section.

St Paul's Website stpaulsbirkenshaw.org/ 

St Paul’s ACNY at www.achurchnearyou.com/church/18102/

"St Paul's Church, Birkenshaw" on Facebook available at: https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=410443662427616&ref=content_filter

All of creation has its winters but Spring does indeed follow.  As we stand in the present and prepare to walk this difficult road together may we know that God is with us and all those whom we love and care for as well as all those we’ve never met but who our lives are bound up with. Over these coming weeks let us hold onto the hope of new life that Jesus Christ brings and invites us to be part of.

With every blessing

Rev’d Karen

A Prayer for Our Community:
O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world. [Please add the people and situations on your heart and mind] . . . Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in Jesus name. Amen. (RR – adapted)