Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield, Sunday 22nd March 2020
40 Blogs of Lent: Day 23
There was to be a service today. I was supposed to be playing percussion in the worship band. But following advice that the archbishops gave last Tuesday, there are to be no more public services for an unforeseeable time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Other advice, this time from the UK Prime Minister is that people over 70 and those with certain medical conditions should isolate themselves for 12 weeks. I have type 2 diabetes, but rather than isolate immediately, my wife was negotiating to work from home, which she was given permission to do on Wednesday, so from Thursday 19th March to mid-June we are at home most of the time other than to take exercise.
That’s it. The rest of Lent is out. I never thought I’d be giving up so much for Lent, I never thought I’d be giving up church for Lent. Then Easter, Pentecost and Trinity Sunday, the church’s patronal festival, are gone too. And all for something microscopic. But we have a duty to care for, not harm, people.
So Mother’s Day is out for a lot of mothers. Those who should be isolated, over 70 or with an underlying health condition such as diabetes or living with someone in isolation should not be visited. For some Mothering Sunday was a non-event.
But without a real-time service, we have given advice on where to find virtual services online (see the end of the blog). There is also, on the church’s YouTube channel a “simple, pre-recorded, video resource service produced by the team at HT.” It is that which I am talking about: The rest of this blog is notes I made on Vicar Mike’s talks from that.
Some are facing increasing uncertainty: Some have had exams cancelled, some working from home, some are self-employed and worried about the future in the fight against coronavirus COVID-19.
My daily meditation, Lectio 365, probably written before the pandemic took off, was talking about those held captive. In light of the events of the last few days we may feel cut off, we want to be together and have the joy of celebrating together. The psalms give voice not only to joy but also lament. Now is a time to pour out our laments to God. I want to do everything I can to keep people connected together. My prayer is that God will quickly gather us back together.
Meeting as we did not possible, but the church is not closed, not to each other but to those around us. We should be characterised by the prayer and service we offer each day. We should offer practical care and support and Jesus can bring hope through the land. Love your neighbour as yourself. Make disciples. We are called to be a people who love God. That the flame will not dim but grow and blaze in our land.
If you can go out, go the extra mile, look out for the lonely and alone. Love like Jesus loves, be the sort of people who live out or love for neighbours.
- Other livestreaming services: A number of Anglican churches are livestreaming their Sunday services, which
you may want to consider watching. These include:
St George’s Leeds (10.30am)
All Souls Langham Place (9.30am, 11.30am, 5.30pm)
A regularly updated list of other livestreamed services in the Diocese of Leeds can be found on the Diocesan website.