We are living in strange and unpredictable days. The rhythm of life slowly seems to be returning to normal and then we find restrictions reappear and we hear of ‘spikes’ or ‘second waves’ of the Coronavirus and we wonder what is going to happen. We are uncertain about whether we should go to certain places, or meet with certain people. The guidance seems complicated at times and frequently changing. It is likely that this will be how life is for many months.
At the same time we are noticing things more, we are becoming more sensitive and alert to the world around us. We are appreciating small things. Many people comment on the beauty of birdsong, or the blooms of flowers. A stranger’s smile encourages us, a friendly phone call is a blessing.
At times we will, inevitably, be concerned, very anxious or fragile. At other times we will feel content or exhilarated. In such circumstances it is not surprising that many find they cannot concentrate so well or sleep so well.
The summer is traditionally a time for relaxation – to take things easy. This is a time to be still, to live enjoying the present moment and what it brings, and to be patient and still. A card on my desk reads ‘Keep calm, Stay wise, Be kind.’ I find them helpful words.
Church life has, of course, changed. Though churches are opening, and we now have Sunday Mass, it is not the same as before. We have to sit apart, there is no singing, people wear masks. I am pleased that those who attend are finding worship comforting. It is, however, different.
It has been so encouraging that we are staying together as a Christina community as best we can. We pray for each other, often by name, we connect by Zoom, social media, telephone, e-mail and even by old fashioned letters! We care. Inevitably contact will not always be as strong as it could be, but it is encouraging that some are saying that they actually have got to know some people better in these unusual days.
I am sure that in these days prayer, calm, love, care and having contact with one another as best we can are the key elements that will sustain us, and our church community.
St Chrysostom’s is a very special, welcoming, inclusive, diverse and joyful church where many people have found God, love and friendship. We will continue to have these qualities, I am sure, in the coming weeks and months as we continue to be church together.