It has been a tough start to this week for me. Here are three contributions to a colleague clergy WhatsApp group:
Monday 11th 7am: As I think today, seeking encouragement, before praying for colleagues, and then taking my next funeral, I note that the prime minister last night made no mention of the Christian community to whom many are turning, and the “spiritual front line” that we are on.
Jesus says “I am the vine and you are the branches. Remain in me. This is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples”. Paul says, “Therefore stand firm…” (I Cor 15: 58). Luke records …and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. God please help us.
Monday 11th 9pm: And there surely comes a point when we need to be trusted to keep ourselves, and others, safe. We are responsible, and seeking to provide the spiritual care that many people want. Top-down authority, as we heard last night, risks the support needed by government to see us through (a personal view, at the end of a long day, but one that I am also hearing more and more).
Tuesday 12th 7am: Jesus teaches us:“No-one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.” Lord, please show us the way, and help us (help each other) to show others…
So, what is the way? How do we see it? Three thoughts:
- Acknowledge the time – there is no loss of face in telling of our anxiety. This is not a sign of weak faith. It is an honest vulnerability. And for many of our students, alongside the general anxiety and uncertainty, there is the start of a few weeks of on-line assessments, with all that this raises – unfamiliarity, reliability and trust – in determining future progress.
- Change the things we can, and not the things we cannot. It is good to focus on diet, sleep patterns, alcohol intake and working routine. Take regular exercise to clear the air. Harness your creative side… try painting…
- Worship, pray and listen…. With so much flying into our minds we can let this side of our life slip, when we should be straining to hear, and keep in step with God. Fellowship with others is often vital to help achieve this.
As the “servant song” goes:
Brother, let me be your servant.
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.
We are pilgrims on a journey.
We are brothers on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.
I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the nighttime of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you;
Speak the peace you long to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping.
When you laugh, I'll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we've seen this journey through.