In these very strange times in which we live it was refreshing to see the way in which our village united in celebration of VE Day, lockdown style, on Friday 8th May.
I listened to an interesting interview yesterday, Lancashire Bishop Jill Duff reflected that as a nation we are living out our biggest challenge in peacetime. During the war people speak of experiencing the ‘fog of war’ of not being able to make decisions, focus, when there’s too much going on – even seasoned Generals were to be paralysed in this way. I have been reflecting on how our spiritual practices, prayer in particular, may have for some of us been affected in a similar way at this time of uncertainty.
What does it mean to pray?
Prayer means many things to many people but I believe in its simplest form it means to ask God for help. A soldier asking for courage. A mother asking for healing for a desperately ill child. The prayer we have probably all said at some point in our lives, The Lord’s prayer, invites us to ask God’s help for everything from ‘daily bread’ to the kingdom come, for ourselves (petition) and for others (intercession) to ask God for forgiveness and for freedom.
In our nation there have been reports of astonishing answers to prayer throughout history. When all seemed dark and lost George VI took to the airwaves on 23rd May 1940 calling the people of Great Britain to a National Day of Prayer the following Sunday. Churchill had hoped to rescue 30,000 Allied forces from the beaches at Dunkirk but following the day of prayer a calm fell on the channel which allowed 100’s of boats to begin their rescue mission across the channel and 335,000 soldiers were rescued!
This is referred, to this day, as the Miracle of Dunkirk.
Today we, the nations of the world, are once again asking for miracles in our prayers.
That the virus will stop spreading. That the medical professionals find a vaccine. That our government make wise decisions. That fear be banished and those who are anxious and downhearted be comforted by a peace that passes all understanding.
There is a wind of change blowing over our community and our nation and perhaps for the first time in peacetime selfishness has become socially unacceptable.
My prayer for us all is that we can give thanks for the ways in which we have, as a community and a nation, given up our freedom for the health and safety of the most vulnerable in our society and for those who are working throughout this pandemic, teachers, NHS, Care home workers and so many others. We may have a way to go in all this. While we wait, let us pray for miracles…let us keep looking beyond ourselves to someone greater than we are and ask Him for help.
Our Father Who art in Heaven Hallowed be Thy name.
God Bless and take care, Revd Jacqueline
Here for you
We are here for you, our parish community, during this unprecedented crisis. Revd Jacqueline and others pray at 9am and 5pm each day, please email any prayer requests to her.
Due to closure of all churches we are saddened that our thriving activities, Butterflies, Crafty and Games Club, After School Messy Church and our Sunday worship and fun are cancelled for now.
We continue to minister and serve you and those from our church who are able are part of the Bracebridge Heath Voluntary service. For further information on our continuing ministry we invite you to join us on our busy Facebook page or contact Revd Jacqueline.
After any trauma there comes a time in our lives, church and community for recovery, for healing, and we hope that we at St John’s church can be part of this.
When this is all over there will be a time for reflecting, consolidating and reshaping the ways we look after one another.
It’s been heart-warming to hear and see the ways in which people in our community have stepped up to help others in so many ways.
When the time comes we at St Johns will pick up once again the things that were going well in our service and worship and perhaps begin new things.
If you would like to be part of something new when this is all over please contact Revd Jacqueline.
With love from all at St John’s Church.