So we begin the 13th week of restricted living, and 74 daily reflections, 14 videos later we’re still going! It’s been great to be brought together on Zoom too, in groups and one-to-one conversations, phone calls, texts and letters. Our community seems stronger than ever, and we are so delighted to have welcomed readers from far and wide to feel part of sharing a life of faith through these uncertain times.
This week we will continue to share some of the wonderful e-mails we have been receiving in response to the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. This morning’s from Ian Thompson, is very much focussed on the togetherness that it brings in community with one another in God.
Roedd Ioan yno eto’r diwrnod wedyn gyda dau o’i ddisgyblion. Wrth i Iesu fynd heibio, roedd Ioan yn syllu arno, ac meddai, “Edrychwch! Oen Duw!” Dyma’r ddau ddisgybl glywodd beth ddwedodd Ioan yn mynd i ddilyn Iesu. Trodd Iesu a’u gweld nhw’n ei ddilyn, a gofynnodd iddyn nhw, “Beth dych chi eisiau?” “Rabbi” medden nhw, “ble wyt ti’n aros?” (Ystyr y gair Hebraeg ‛Rabbi‛ ydy ‛Athro‛.) Atebodd Iesu nhw, “Dewch i weld.”
I remember my fifth birthday vividly. I should have been in school, but missed the whole of that first Summer Term due to a severe bout of ‘influenza’, so my medical record shows. Whatever it was, that illness had me ‘self-isolated’, as we would say nowadays, from Easter until glorious Maytime.
After weeks indoors, my parents, my Nan, my chubby two-year-old brother and I walked down to Ramsgate’s Western Undercliff and picnicked in the sunshine, sitting on a huge slab on the rocky foreshore. I remember a warm feeling of togetherness amid a happy release from my ‘lockdown’.
Just as my birthday picnic was warm and sunny, and there was a new feeling of freedom in me, I sense that those two disciples also felt a warm feeling of togetherness, because the Gospel adds in the next verses that Andrew (always seeking someone) “first found his brother Simon, said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah!’ and brought him to Jesus.” This was Simon Peter, who went on to become one of the foremost of the disciples.
Our family enjoyed many picnics after that one on the rocks, in rain as well as sunshine! My chubby brother, an outrageous, extrovert ‘party-animal’ gradually began to express a warm, caring nature towards his family and his many friends. His friends in turn loved and respected our parents, as well as each other in all their foibles and misfortunes. In his latter years, he and I enjoyed many times of warm togetherness.
When lockdown gradually eases (we hope!) and we can meet together again somehow, I pray we can know the joy of those feelings of warm togetherness with friends and family. Meanwhile, and in case of continuing lockdown or more of the same, I for one appreciate our new togetherness in meetings on Zoom and Skype. I enjoy seeing church members face-to-face with their names displayed alongside instead of just the backs of their heads! The Christ that brought together those first disciples is still at work through the power of the Holy Spirit. Our sense of community is strong, despite the lack of physical meeting.
David and Eryl and team are to be congratulated on their intimate, simple yet powerful worship and teaching presentations, with backgrounds of local seaside, river and mountain views. The Gospel passage does not tell us what teachings Jesus shared with the disciples at their first meeting, but His precious and profound words were surely accompanied by views of river, mountain and sea. May we continue to enjoy them too, together.
Dduw mawr a chariadlon,
cyfarchwn di heddiw,
gan dy foli dy fod yma
yn ein cyfarch ni a phawb arall,
heddiw a phob dydd,
yma a phobman.
Helpa ni i’th gyfarfod di,
a thyfu’n agosach atat.
Great and loving God,
we greet you this day,
and we praise you that you are here
to greet us and everyone,
today and every day,
here and everywhere.
Help us to meet with you,
and grow closer to you.