Rector’s Weekly Letter – 21st May 2020

Dear friends,

Today the first summer rose has bloomed at the Rectory window. As I paused to admire it and take a photo, I noticed a last tiny flower of the winter jasmine nearby reminding me that we are in a time of transition. Despite the occasional sunny day, there are still patches of snow on the hills and the potatoes I planted in containers for Young Church still need to be brought in at night. Winter has not yet loosened its grip and yet we are surrounded by signs of the approach of summer.

We are in a time of transition also as a nation. Today we learned of the measures our government has devised to ease us out of lockdown. We can start to look forward to more freedom and to an eventual return to normal life but at the moment, the threat of the virus is still lurking in our communities and the death toll is still rising. How appropriate it is that today is Ascension Day, the day when we celebrate the most important transition in the story of our faith. It marks the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth and points towards the great hand-over when we, his followers, take on the responsibility of continuing his work, empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is a mysterious feast, full of paradoxes. Christ leaves us, and yet he is now even closer to us; he is hidden from our eyes and yet revealed through us to the whole of humankind.

The following days, as they hid in Jerusalem waiting for the Holy Spirit to come, must have difficult for the first followers. The days ahead, as some of us start to emerge from our homes, won’t be easy either but we have a choice how to respond. We could succumb to anxiety and fear or we could spend the time as the disciples did, in prayer. ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ is a movement that invites Christians around the world to pray for more people to come to know Jesus. What started in 2016 as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Church of England has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer. There is a whole range of resources on for all ages. I would encourage you to get involved.

With love to you all,