Six months ago 'Zoom' was a passing acquaintance that I barely knew, now I just wish I'd taken out shares in the company because most of my life seems to be spent in online 'Zoom' meetings. It's been a huge relief to be able to meet people in person in the garden!
We are all speaking a new language with 'lockdown', 'PPE', 'furlough' being words that we weren’t using much at all and as for 'unprecedented'...
The reality is that there are a whole spectrum of words and feelings in play at the moment: anxiety, frustration and in some, anger. You might be feeling one of those emotions or you might be somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, your garden is looking great, you're quite enjoying lockdown and while you're taking the dangers of covid seriously you're not desperate to get back to how life was before.
However many people are grieving at the moment - grieving loss... loss of familiar routines, loss of major events, loss of holidays or other special plans, loss of loved ones through bereavement. On top of that lots of people I know are feeling tired, tired of home schooling, tired of social distancing, tired of working from home. All of this creates an environment where we can react out of our grief, out of hurt and frustration and effectively not be ourselves.
Over the past several weeks I've also met people who are feeling shaken and as a result have started re-evaluating where they have been putting their trust and what they now think is important compared to the beginning of the year.
I've had a number of conversations with people who are exploring faith, some for the first time, and while church buildings have been largely closed, the number of people engaging with church online has been quite extraordinary.
Jesus told a story where he said: "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."
I do hope that you and your family have weathered the storms of the last few weeks and are all set for a good summer. We don’t yet know when we will be able to worship again in St. James the Great, but we continue to pray for the village and for each other, confident of our foundations and hopeful about the future.
May you know God's grace and peace at this time.
Simon Kirby, Vicar of St. James the Great, South Leigh & St Mary's Cogges (July 2020)