Greetings. Though we are closed for the time being, I do want to let you know that my prayers and those of our churchwardens and members of the PCC join with yours for all those affected by the COVID-19 virus. This includes, of course,
the sick and their loved ones, as well as all those who are understandably saddled with anxiety, sadness and fear of financial insecurity that come in the wake of the all-encompassing changes that have taken place in the last weeks.
I would like to
remind you of our prayers, to ask for yours, and to encourage you to call to mind all those intentional practices that structure your time when you are in lockdown. Practices such as periods of silence and stillness, praying with scripture, and walks amidst
the beauty of nature. Your current atmosphere might be different, but the practices themselves are available to you wherever you are. These restorative and healing practices build community "at a distance" and can help assuage the feeling of loneliness that
might be part of your current experience, or those of your loved ones.
I want to reassure you that St. Laurence Church has not closed down!!! Not at all. The church building may have had to be closed by the instruction of the Prime Minister for very
good reasons, but we continue to be the church of God wherever we are.
We are God’s family through baptism, belief and belonging and in our lives gathered and scattered as God’s family we NEVER close down, whatever the circumstances or context.
For our new way of being God’s church this means that
…… I as your Vicar will continue to be available for all as usual.
…… Pastoral care through me as your Vicar and designated others will continue as usual.
…… Funerals will continue to be held whilst we will need to take heed to strictly the instructions set by the Bishops.
…… Keep an eye open for the Vicar’s short weekly reflection on the Sunday Gospel reading, which
will be posted on this website
…… If, in the days ahead, you should to be part of a Holy Communion Service streamed through the social media or relayed through television or radio, I commend this prayer to you as you make your spiritual
Prayer at Spiritual Communion
Jesus, may all that is you flow into me.
May your body and blood be my food and drink.
May your passion and death be my strength and life.
Jesus, with you by my side enough has been forgiven.
May the shelter I seek be the shadow of your cross.
Let me not run from the love which you offer but hold me safe from the forces of evil.
On each of my dyings shed your light and your love.
Keep calling to me until that day comes, when with
your saints, I may praise you forever. Amen.
I think there is a lot that God is doing in this season, and God will probably move in some ways that we may have no idea of at the moment.
So, let me suggest one thing to pay attention to something which I came upon recently: The writer consoles
us: God has us in a Selah Season.
You know that word Selah, don’t you? Selah appears 74 times in the Old Testament – 71 times in the Psalms and 3 times in Habakkuk. The idea in the Hebrew for this word is a pause. Some think that this was
a musical instruction, perhaps calling for a musical interlude of some kind. But most scholars think Selah speaks of a reflective pause, a pause to meditate on the words just spoken. Maybe it was both – “meditate on these words while you listen
to this music.”
Right now, many of us are in a forced “pause” – a Selah. We were not looking for it, but here it is. So, let us Selah – and look at a few places in the Psalms where we are told to pause, and to think and
Pause for confident praise: Psalm 44:8
In God we boast all day long,
And praise Your name forever. Selah
Pause for assurance of God's presence: Psalm 46:7
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
Pause to find your shelter in God: Psalm 32:7
You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah
Pause to realise that we are weak and that life is short:
LORD, make me to know my end,
And what is the measure of my days,
That I may know how frail I am.
Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my age is as nothing before You;
Certainly every man at his best
state is but vapour. Selah
Pause for unshakable confidence: Psalm 46:1-3
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains
be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
Pause to consider the assurance of our resurrection: Psalm 49:15
But God will redeem my soul from the power
of the grave,
For He shall receive me. Selah
You can keep going on your own. Take time to pause, and there is no better place to take a pause than where God tells you to.
Meditate on the Selahs in the Psalms.
Stay safe. Stay home.
Stay connected. God bless you and keep you, now and always.
Fr. Rodney (Vicar)