Chaplain’s Blog Stardate 12.07.2020

Dear Fellow Readers (Licensed Lay Ministers) and highly esteemed others

Reminder:  if you don’t want this semi-regular epistle please do reply and let me know and I will take you off the list. (It does happen occasionally)

In this week’s blog:

This week the Chaplain’s Blog (Stardate 12.07.2020) has a new page!  “Hymn of the Week” by Bob Owens who starts with a hymn topical for Sea Sunday! https://www.readers-chaplain.org.uk/hymn-of-the-week/

Roy’s Sunday Scribblings still have me riveted to the anecdotes of Roy’s sailor. This week  you really get the feel of a rolling ship, the immense heat of an engine room…. And what happens when someone cuts corners…… https://www.readers-chaplain.org.uk/roys-sunday-scribblings/

I was reminded of the phrase ‘Liminal Space’ by someone  this week – some thoughts about that in relation to ‘church’ and ministry  at the moment.

 

Liminal space is the time between what was before and what happens next and it’s a precious resting point where prayer and contemplation will help and guide us.

Richard Rohr says of liminal space, “Get there often and stay as long as you can by whatever means possible…This is the sacred space where the old world is able to fall apart, and a bigger world is revealed. “

At the moment our church life is in some ways in liminal space, what we have known before stopped and we are wondering if it will come back in the way it was or indeed whether it should come back the way it was.

There are new technologies and ways of doing things at play. Even where services are gradually coming back into our buildings  they are not the same; the handshakes and hugs are missing, the consoling arm at the funeral, even the smiles have gone in places where masks are advisable.  Our churches are alongside many other organisations religious and secular, voluntary and business that are going through financial crisis putting other pressured on our return to ‘normalcy’

I have heard a lot lately from various sources about people being fearful to come back to church (or to resume shopping in town) but I think its really the wrong word and the wrong way of looking at things. If those staying away are fearful it intimates that those going to church (in vulnerable categories) are being brave which is a bit silly!  I would like to think that what folks are actually doing is risk-assessing their own situation and deciding whether the risk of going to an enclosed space with other people in a time of pandemic is worth the benefits of what they would find currently in church building based services. 

Morning prayer each day in the Redruth benefice has a dozen people each day and the Sunday Zoom service a couple of Zoom screens full , so its popularity as fellowship, worship and prayer will cause a hole if it were to stop. 

A couple of the regulars at morning prayer this morning were asked if they would attend the same service in church at 9  am and the answer unsurprisingly was not really- but they would miss the Zoom service that they can join from their arm chair.

So perhaps we should be using our ‘liminal space’ to reassess what we need, what we do and what is truly important.  For me it is more important, at the moment, to meet Christ in the Zoom room faces, the laughter before the service and the fellowship rather than in receiving communion in one kind in church while I ponder on who is or who might not be taking adequate precautions against transmitting covid 19.

For many of us in ministry have found our lives have changed considerably if we have underlying health issues or if we are over 70  and some of us are wondering what’s next? Do we get back to our funerals and services of the word, our study groups and our home communions or is there something else as well. I have missed my story-telling in schools and I can’t see when that might safely happen again. Picking up the grandchildren from school and helping with homework etc has also gone for a burton and might also be fraught with problems once the children go back to school in September. 

So my prayers are for those ministers who have not yet filled the gap, who are waiting for everything to  go back the way it was and for those who think it will never go back to the way it was and don’t know if ministry in the future holds a place for them.  Lord, sew some seeds of ideas in their hearts and nourish their ministry till it grows and fruits and they are able to bring back a harvest for you. Amen

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I would imagine that anyone who has actually read my meanderings will be aware of the Centre for Action and Contemplation and the daily Meditations from Richard Rohr. If by any chance you are not you might like to start with last Thursday’s about Wisdom in Times of Crisis which you can find here…. https://email.cac.org/t/ViewEmail/d/58E819A4B00C269B2540EF23F30FEDED/4C24BF6E4305D57646778398EADC2510

Roots on The Web- worth the subscription!

 

Prayers this week taken from https://www.rootsontheweb.com/ 

God of all seeds and all stories

God of all seeds and all stories,
we pray for the wisdom to apply the truth of Jesus’ parables
to our own lives
and to our life together in this place where we worship you  
and this community where we serve you.
May we see you, may we hear you, may we know you care.

In the world, we pray especially
for places where climate change has brought drought…
for the places where it has brought floods …
for those whose crops have been scorched…
for those whose livelihoods have been washed away.
We pray for the people of Japan –
for those caught in the heavy rains there –
and for the people of Australia
and their wildlife endangered by the forest fires.
We pray too for those in our own country
who face continual upheaval and heartache through repeated flooding.
May we see you, may we hear you, may we know you care.

We pray for those whose life’s seeds
are being choked by anxiety, poverty and hardship…
for those who have lost their jobs…
for those unable to feed their families
or to pay their mortgages and rent…
for those living without basic facilities.
We pray for those given hope by the emergency budget
and for those who feel hope-less
and for foodbanks and charities that try to help all who are struggling.
May we see you, may we hear you, may we know you care.

We pray for those unable to thrive because of illness…
and those denied the opportunity
to plant the seeds of their dreams in fertile soil…
for those hospitalised with Covid-19…
for those whose journey to recovery is long , slow and painful…
for those who nurse them…
for those who love them…
for those whose treatment has been put on hold…
We pray for those robbed of the opportunity to go to school,
for children in war zones, those in refugee camps,
those who have to work to find their daily food.
May we see you, may we hear you, may we know you care.

And we pray for those whose seeds are watered by their tears…
those grieving the loss of someone close to them…
those who feel forgotten…
those who are neglected…
those who are victims of injustice, abuse, or cruelty…
May they – and all in any kind of need today – see you, may they hear you,
and may know you care. Amen.

 

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