It’s a shorter message from me this week. Partly because there is guidance around re-opening for public worship for you to read as well, but also because sometimes less is more!
Less had to be more for Rachel and me over the weekend. We took a 24-hour trip to see our families. Handily, they all live within about 20 miles of each other, so we were able to fit everyone in. But because we could fit them all in, we had a limited time with everyone – less had to be more. But we did see everyone. We did get to re-connect.
Even driving more than 5 miles from the Vicarage felt like re-connecting with a life we’d put down sometime in March, picking up the familiar threads of the the A421 and the A1. Whoever thought you could feel so fond of an A road?! That just seeing ‘Peterborough 34’ or ‘Stamford 9’ on a sign could lift the spirits so much? For all the wonders of technology we are still creatures made for real-time connection, for ‘face to face’ relating, for society. In that reading we all associate with weddings, St. Paul reminds us that our ultimate purpose is for this kind of relating: ‘now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love’ (1 Corinthians 13. 12-13). These connections we have with each other are the fabric of love. And we’re all in need of caring for that fabric at the moment.
Many of us will be able to re-connect ‘face to face’ from this Sunday through our resumed public worship. Please do read the guidance about this very carefully. Among other things you’ll see there are two Sunday services with limited capacity, we are asking you to send us some information beforehand and we are encouraging the congregation to wear a face covering, but this is not compulsory. The guidance the wardens and I have put together is not to make anyone feel anxious about coming to worship, quite the reverse. Our intention is to help everyone feel safe and to do what we can to protect each other and the wider community. As we re-connect face to face over the coming weeks, we need to be mindful of how we can continue to love and care for one another. We hope the measures we have put in place are an expression of this.
Things will be different. But the only constant in life is that it is changing! Apart of course from the constant of love. The love we find in the relationships that sustain us, and the love we receive from the God who invites us to connect with him face to face.
With my love and prayers for you,
All Saints Vicarage,
Feast of St. Swithun, Thursday 16th July 2020