‘Behold, your Son… Behold… your mother’
“Church is changing.” That’s the official line of the CofE as, in an unprecedented move, Archbishop’s Justin and John announced on Tuesday that until further notice all public acts of worship were to be suspended.
At Harbour Churches we were planning to suspend services and had the announcement been different, I would still not have been prepared to hold public worship in our parish churches.
However, your parish church is STAYING OPEN and we hope that our ancient places of prayer can be for you, and your neighbours, a place where folk can gather individually for prayer and reflection at this time of great need and anxiety.
Also, EVERY SUNDAY from 9am – 12noon each of our Parish Churches will be open for a time of focussed prayer. During this time, you can come and sit at a safe distance and just have those precious moments of prayer in such a special place.
This Sunday, being Mothering Sunday, we invite you to spend 10-15mins praying in church for all of us as we face together the COVID19 pandemic. The words of the collect seem to have a particular resonance at this time:
God of Love, passionate and strong, tender and careful:
watch over us and hold us all the days of our life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
We so need to draw close to the God of love who feels so deeply and whose strength – like a mothers’ – is truly tender and profoundly full of care. In and through this simple prayer, God will watch over us and hold us – but not only us but all those who need us and the world around us. We also invite you to come with a simple flower and add it to what we hope we will be a great posy of prayer for Mothering Sunday which we lift the spirits of those who come in during the week.
The Gospel reading for Sunday is also beautifully resonant. In John 19. 25-27, we encounter Christ speaking out of the cross with such a depth of love for his mother and his best friend. In this incredible moment he brings them together and offers them fullness of life in and through transformed relationships.
Isn’t this what we are being offered out of our COVID19 time of darkness and uncertainty? Can we hear the voice of Jesus say: ‘Be a helping hand and reach out to your neighbour in need – be like a mother to them’?
A lot more than church is changing… We do not know what lies ahead but we do know that whatever the path may be, Jesus has already gone that way for us and if we walk in his steps, they will be the way that leads to life and life in all its fullness.
Please continue to pray for: Claire Ralf, Derrick, Clive, Max, Charlotte, Margaret and Sandra Blyth and those who have recently died and their loved ones: Alex Thavenot and Piers de Berniere-Smart.
The ‘Prayer Phone Friends‘ are also there for you as an encouragement in prayer and will welcome your call.
Assuring you of my prayers and trusting to yours –
Jonathan, Rector: 07539011579 firstname.lastname@example.org
Clare, Parish Administrator: 01243 514057 email@example.com