Nether Heyford Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul
The recent celebrations of the 75th Anniversary of VE Day sparked much reminiscing about the generation that saw the country through the challenges of global war, and its ‘wartime spirit’. Several programmes and news articles focused on members of that generation, reflecting on their stories of life during the war. Inevitably, the experiences of that generation were compared to our current experiences of live in lock-down as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. On its news website, the BBC asked what we might learn from the wartime generation, in which one elderly contributor advised, ‘don’t panic, smile and pray’. Elsewhere, people have suggested that robbed of the ability to gather physically with friends and family, denied human contact outside our immediate household, our present circumstances are worse than wartime. Still, we are seeing a real ‘lock-down spirit’ as we all play our part in combatting the coronavirus and hope that the outbreak and its effects will come to an end soon. That ‘lockdown spirit’ is demonstrated in an increased neighbourliness, in care for the vulnerable, in support for those who are selfisolating and shielding themselves, and in increased communication, as we strive to keep in touch with family, friends and neighbours by telephone and social media.
The Gospel reading set for last Sunday speaks of a different Spirit. Jesus promises his followers, “I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit who will help you and always be with you” (John 14:16 CEV). In the original Greek, the word for ‘help’ can also mean comfort, encourage and defend. What a wonderful thing to say! God’s Spirit will be with us always, creating a spirit, a resolve within us that will help, comfort, encourage and defend us, whatever trials and challenges life might throw our way. This Spirit that Jesus promises – which will be in us and alongside us always – is the Spirit of this and every age.
In these exceptional times, if you need spiritual support, prayer or someone to talk to, please give me a ring – my telephone number is below. You can also visit the Benefice Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/HS9FB for reflections and prayers, for words of encouragement and reassurance, as well as a live-streamed service at 10:00AM every Sunday morning.
I leave you this month with these words from the English spiritual writer, Julian of Norwich, which have helped and encouraged me in recent weeks, “Christ did not say, ‘You shall not be perturbed, you shall not be troubled, you shall not be distressed,’ but he said, ‘You shall not be overcome.’”
With every prayer and blessing in these uncertain times.
Stephen 01327 344436 Mobile: 07511 544375 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org