Life Beyond Lockdown
The longer we stay in lockdown, the more I long for the open sea.
There is a romantic telling of the coming of Christianity to Britain in ‘the Dark Ages’. The earliest communities were founded by Celtic saints who evangelised in coracles, the size of a tin bath with oars, setting out along the coasts and rivers of these islands to settle wherever the wind blew. Many legends were made from their journeys.
As many of us begin to stagger back to life beyond lockdown, we know we are in perilous waters. There is fresh fear and confusion about rules, ramping up frustration and anxiety. The resolve of those shielding at home is wearing thin. Frontline workers are increasingly strained as the months accumulate.
This Sunday the Church celebrates the great feast of Pentecost, fifty days after Easter. The story, as told by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles, tells of a violent wind and divided tongues like fire. The disciples find themselves speaking of God’s amazing deeds in strange languages. The crowd is bewildered and says they have drunk too much wine.
On this day at St Peter’s, we often listen to this reading in the many languages spoken by the congregation: Twi, Dutch, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Welsh, Jamaican Patois, Icelandic, Yoruba, Portugese, Fanti…
As St Peter’s waits to unlock the church building, messages in different languages are being displayed on the closed doors of the church, as a way of communicating the faith and wisdom we share.
We also offer a visual Prayer for the Easing of Lockdown.
As we travel on, not knowing where we will be blown, let us sit calmly in our coracles, remembering the image of Jesus in the storm at sea – while the tempest raged and the disciples feared for their lives, Jesus is asleep on a cushion at the front of the boat, completely at ease in the raging torrents. And let us imagine the legends that we might make to be passed on about our journeys through these strange times.
May the Spirit of God rest on you all