Due to the Coronavirus outbreak and following national advice from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York
ALL SERVICES OF PUBLIC WORSHIP ARE NOW CANCELLED
and all Churches are to remain LOCKED
An Act of Spiritual Communion is available by going to the 'Weekly Newsletter' in the services/events link.
We are also asked to LIGHT A CANDLE again this evening at 7.00pm
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Lent 5 - 29th March 2020
For Mary and Martha Jesus’ refusal to come immediately back to Bethany to attend their sick brother, Lazarus, must have been a real disappointment. They had become close disciples, good friends. Surely, he would respond to their message and come back to heal their beloved brother? But he leaves it another two days. Whilst on his way Martha comes out to meet him; there must have been real disappointment in her voice as she said those words to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here . . .’ How often have we regretted not being in the right place at the right time? “If only I’d been there?” we say, believing that our presence would have made things different. Many of us, these days, are having to get used to ‘not being there’ where and when we feel we ought to be. Social distancing, self-isolation are not the norms for human beings, and I suspect they will begin to take their toll on our mental health and resilience. But Jesus was not there for Mary, Martha and Lazarus as death called at his door. Martha thinks that Jesus’ response, ‘Your brother will rise again’ is reference to the resurrection on the last day, but Jesus says to her ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.’ Words I have spoken at so many funerals, too many to remember, which ring true for me more and more as I see the wonderful faith of so many as they approach death. As George Burgess used to say, quoting Winston Churchill after the battle of El Alamein, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” For those of us who believe in Jesus Christ death is not the end, how powerfully John makes this point in his gospel as Jesus proclaims, “Lazarus, come out!” “Unbind him, and let him go.” Let him go, let us go, into the new life he wants us to live, the end of the beginning, the end of our reliance on all that is human and worldly and the beginning of a real faith in him who died to save us all. As we approach Holy Week which starts next Sunday let us keep the wonderful gift of God’s love in our hearts and minds and rejoice that he died to save us all.