All Saints and our approach to Covid-19

Dear all,

 

Draw close to God

 

St. Ignatius Loyola, who founded the Jesuits, spoke about the two competing forces within - one which draws us toward God and the other away. One “causes gnawing anxiety, saddens and sets up obstacles. In this way it unsettles people by false reasons aimed at preventing their progress.” The other, flowing from God’s Spirit “stirs up courage and strength, consolations, inspirations and tranquillity.”

 

“Do not be afraid!,” Jesus says many times in the scriptures.

 

Prayer & Worship

 

In our Gospel for Lent 4 we look at John 9 and Jesus' encounter with the man born blind. The disciples try to rationalise why this might have happened to him. We can be tempted to try to rationalise about this virus. But rather than speculating, analysing and rationalising we are better praying, consoling others, heeding guidance and remembering Jesus' answer to those disciples that it is possible, that even through what is a very testing circumstance, God can be glorified. We do that in practical ways. We can stay in touch with phone calls; come together to pray the Daily prayers from the Church of England and trust in God. You will be joining my household, as we do this every morning and from Monday March 23rd we will be live recording Daily Prayer at 9:30 am through facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/AllsaintsEaling/

 

Many things have been cancelled because of the virus. Love and Prayer have not.

 

Good neighbours

 

Loving your neighbour can happen through very practical means. Taking necessary precautions so we don't spread the illness, we can still fulfil our Christian call to help others. We can buy only what we need as we consider our neighbours and what their needs might be. Goods can be left on their doorsteps with their arrangement.

 

Sundays

 

Sundays can still be a special day set aside to connect with God. You might like to choose a book of the Bible to which you feel a special connection and spend some time with it, listening to God there. It will take you about an hour to listen to David Suchet read the book of Romans from which we have been preaching recently. David Suchet came to faith at the age of 40 through reading Romans in a hotel room in which he was staying. You may know David better as the great detective Poirot. You can listen to him read whole books of the Bible on Youtube; through the Youversion Bible app and through Bible Gateway.

 

As a Parish we will finish our Reframe course next week. We are going to go on and study the book of Philippians with this free resource https://ntwrightonline.org/from-the-desk-of-n-t-wright-march-17-2020/. It is with the popular New Testament Scholar N T Wright who used to be the Bishop of Durham and now teaches at Oxford. If you do not want to formally study you could simply read Philippians, which we have chosen as our book for this season of isolated life together.

 

On Sundays we will upload sermons to the website which will be recordings of the voices of myself, Curate Julia and preacher Revd Prof. Steve. We will be glad to keep you pilgrimaging through Lent and into Easter and beyond, united in God’s Word.

 

If you would like to virtually attend church the Archbishop of Canterbury will be live-streaming a service on Sunday mornings on the radio and we will signpost you to that through our facebook page when we hear more.

 

You can also be creative. You can gather your family to talk about the Gospel because as we know Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Mt. 18:20). Remember church is so much bigger than a building - it is you. The readings for the following Sundays are included in the Prayer booklet which you can download from our website here

 

Connected

 

Trust God is with you and your church community are holding you in prayer.

 

As we walk the path to Calvary with Christ we do not have a Saviour unable to sympathise with us in this difficult time. He understands, not only because he is divine and understands all things but because he is human and experienced all things. Go to him in prayer. He hears us.

 

Though All Saints Church will be ceasing all Sunday services and groups until further notice, our communication with God continues in prayer. As we remember to wash hands for 20 seconds , the Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested that all Christians practice praying the Lord’s Prayer as we do so and take the opportunity to offer the concerns of this nation and the world to God.

 

Please stay in touch with your church via the website, social media, email and telephone.

 

This Sunday (March 22nd) is to be a National Day of Prayer with the simple act of placing a lit candle in a front window at 7 pm. Let's join in. Let’s make this a commitment for every Sunday during the coming weeks: ‘The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it’ (John 1:5)

 

Let us pray that God will guide us to be imaginative and creative in our worship and prayer as God’s pilgrim people. Let us commit to keep serving the neediest in our communities, keeping in contact to avoid loneliness and unhelpful isolation. Let us pray that we will emerge from this time a different church – one that has learned afresh to be God’s own people (1 Peter 2:9),

 

with love and prayers

 

Rachel Marszalek (Vicar)

 

Charles Mynors and Mo Perkins (Church wardens)