Sally Kerson is an LLM in the benefice of Ampworth, Chilworth and North Baddesley in the Diocese of Winchester, she sent her reflections on these uncertain times through our contact form- available on any page of the website.
The Prime Minister has set out his road map for ending the lockdown in the UK and people are looking forward to more restrictions being lifted as the weeks go by. The church also waits for the time when she can fling open her doors to everyone.
Meanwhile most of us have had to learn, very quickly, how to be a Christian presence on line. Sunday mornings are now spent at home taking part in services or pre-recording sections, working together to keep everything interesting, informative and engaging to a congregation that we cannot see.
In some ways it feels that the church is on its own journey with the scenery completely changed. However, there are times when it is difficult reading the map in front of us and we wonder if we will ever reach our destination through a crisis that grips the world.
One of the post resurrection readings was from Luke Chapter 24 v. 13-35 The Road to Emmaus is when two companions are walking together, and they are joined by Jesus, but they do not recognise him until they share a meal together. Both these activities of walking and sharing meals with friends have been denied to us for over two months, so this truly is a story of deep meaning, reminding us in particular of the breaking of the bread and sharing together Holy Communion in our churches.
The fact that these two companions on the road to Emmaus did not recognise Jesus only highlights the fact that we often do not recognise who is walking beside us on our journey of life. But one of the most important parts of this story is the fact that Jesus listened to those on that road. There can often be the temptation when people are sad or low, to try and cheer them up without giving them space or time to talk first. But Jesus listens, he values the experience of these two companions and he helps them to reflect on what they have experienced over the last few days in Jerusalem, his death and the women witnessing an empty tomb.
During the time of lock down we have been called to listen to many people over the telephone and via the internet and in particular the bereaved. Sadly we have been unable to meet with families in person before funerals have been conducted, but have listened to their stories and attempted to travel with them on the path of grief.
The pandemic has certainly given the church and its people a great deal to think about over the months. It has challenged the way we see and everyone else sees the church. We have had to discover through prayer and and reflection, different ways of hearing God’s voice. Hopefully as ministers we have become more outward looking in the way we have spread the word of God in our communities. Now is the time to perhaps work out our own route map for the future of the church and all God’s people, without any restrictions.
St.John’s and All Saints, North Baddesley
St.Denys church, Chilworth
St. Marks, Ampfield
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