Vicar's letter

Dear Friends,

As Autumn begins, it is a reminder of just how quickly this year has passed. I know that time feels like it goes by faster as you get older. But this year which has largely been spent at home and thus seen the cancellation of so many events that would normally structure our year, has distorted our sense of time. Yet I am sure that the speed of this year is also due to the fact that we have spent most of it looking a good few months ahead. Since the end of the first wave of Covid-19, we have been anticipating the second which sadly now seems to be upon us. People have been talking about Christmas for weeks and what it will look like and others have already set their sights on next spring as a time when hopefully more treatments will be available, at least one vaccine will be in circulation and if nothing else, we will be able to spend more time outside again. In such a terrible time as this then, it is natural to look forward in hope to a time when things will be better - when we are living in the light that we know is at the end of this particular tunnel.

Yet as challenging as 2020 is proving to be, as tempting as it is to look to spring 2021 and just ‘get through’ the next six months, how important it is that we do try and remain in the present. For the present is where people all around us are coming to terms with what this pandemic has done to them, without even having being infected by Covid-19: loneliness, isolation; loss of income, jobs or businesses and thus a very real struggle to pay the rent, mortgage and even buy food. Many people then do not have the luxury of looking six months ahead, getting through today is difficult enough.

Similarly, in our rush to get through 2020 and abandon the present, let us not forget that good things are happening in it. New life is still beginning; people are still falling in love and in many ways families and friends are maybe closer than ever. More than anything, this year has taught us about the triumph of the human spirit. We have seen members of the medical professions, care workers and teachers work around the clock because to do so means that a life can be saved, a vulnerable life can be supported and our children can still be educated.

In many ways then, 2020 has opened our eyes to something that Christianity teaches: as tempting as it is for Christians to simply ‘look ahead’ to life in the Kingdom of God, we are called to be in the present. Time and again in the Gospels we see Jesus – on his way to the cross and resurrection, when the Kingdom would break into the world – being very much in the present. Stopping along the way to help those who were struggling at that moment and challenge those who were unaware that their actions were making life very difficult for others. The light of the risen Christ then is very much in the present and so Christians are always called to live in the here and now. For to live in the present, is to pray for the present and to carry the light of the risen Christ into the present, even though we still pray, ‘thy Kingdom come.’

As Autumn begins then, let us not give up on 2020. In many ways, it does feel like we are in one long, dark tunnel. Yet let us remember that the light isn’t just ‘at the end of the tunnel.’ The light of the risen Christ is with us now – in the darkness, in the challenge, in 2020, in the present.

With every blessing,