Anyone who thinks that lockdown is over and that it’s time to celebrate, is living in a parallel universe to all the people whose lives are being ripped apart by the Covid-19 pandemic and its fallout.
The trauma of sudden and distanced deaths will be woven into the unfolding economic and social crisis for a long time to come. Since lockdown started easing two weeks ago, we have witnessed shocking events in this neighbourhood and in the world. A tsunami of outrage has burst.
‘There was nothing we could do’ is the awful cry of so many who have lost loved ones through this pandemic, whether officially infected or not. And as we witness tragedies all around us, there is nothing we can do but watch and pray (to whatever creative/transformative/consoling power there may be). For many people, the urge to ‘do something’ is a natural human response to the spectacle of suffering. Protesting in mass demonstrations is a way of ‘doing something’.
Peace was a significant concept for the early Christians. The Greek word iriene – meaning tranquil, safe, content – most often translated as ‘peace’ in the New Testament, appears a hundred times. Some biblical scholars claim that pacifist orientated Christians in New Testament studies have overlooked the function of violence in these texts – in the sense of forms of dehumanization rather than overt physical violence. Jesus understood that conflict and change are inevitable in any human community/society.
On this Trinity Sunday, as the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Trinity – the mystery of God in three persons: Father/Son/Holy Spirit – we move into a new season of the Spirit of God. In the Celtic Christian tradition these coming 40 days are observed as a ‘second Lent’, a period of time to breathe in the gifts of the Spirit of God, particularly in the open air.
Thanks to Margaret Glover and Stephanie Warner for sharing their reflections on the Black Lives Matter protests (see Home Worship).
Jonathan Clark, Bishop of Croydon and ex-Rector of Stoke Newington has posted this response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis from the Rev’d Darius Withers, a priest in the Croydon Area. Anyone who has never had to worry about calling the police needs to read this.
As we watch protestors around the world simply state the words: ‘I Can’t Breathe’, let us all draw in deeply the purifying vapours of the Spirit of God – the Spirit of All Truth. And may all who defend freedom act with wisdom and respect.
With blessings as ever,
Rev’d Julia Porter-Pryce
Vicar, St Peter De Beauvoir
Click for Home Worship, Sunday 7 June.