Nether Heyford Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul
We received a couple of interesting cards last Christmas. One, from my training incumbent and his family, included a seed from one of the Christmas trees in their garden, with the invitation to plant it in the spring. The other card, from our daughter, Sarah, included a little sheet of paper, full of wildflower seeds, with similar instructions regarding planting. A few weeks ago, we planted both in little plastic plant pots, and placed them on the kitchen windowsill, where they would catch the morning sunshine, and we would be reminded to water them. We did this, and we checked for shoots every day, having faith that in the darkness, under the soil, the miracle of growth was taking place.
After Christmas, the next big Christian festival is Easter, and we have just had the most unusual and unexpected of Easter weekends. Our church buildings are closed, and we are unable to gather physically, but the Church remains alive and well. In our isolation, we are finding new ways to worship together on-line, new ways to pray for and care for our communities. With time to reflect, I frequently find myself wondering what new things might grow and emerge from the darkness of these days of crisis, not just for the Church, but for our society as a whole. We are already seeing a strengthening of community spirit. We are finding new ways to keep in touch with family, friends and neighbours. There is greater appreciation for workers in the NHS and other public services. We are seeing nature recover, with cleaner air one of the benefits of the greatly reduced levels of air and road travel. What can we do to keep these good things alive and growing as we come out of these difficult times?
At Easter, we celebrate Jesus rising from death to new life. The Gospels tell us that Jesus appeared to his disciples and filled them with his peace. But this is not the peace of the ‘old normal’, this is a new and different and exciting peace, because Jesus is risen from the dead. This is a peace full of the promise of life transformed. In the days after Easter, back on our kitchen windowsill, shoots appeared in the plant pot containing the wildflower seeds. Underground, in the darkness, the miracle of growth occurs, and new life bursts forth. At Easter we celebrate, and we remember that Jesus defeated death, that he came through suffering and darkness to bring new life, joy, peace and hope.
This present darkness will pass. New life hope and joy will emerge. Hold on!
With every prayer and blessing in these uncertain times,
Stephen 01327 344436 Mobile 07511 544375