Hello from a beautifully sunny Conwy! How are you? How are you getting on with this – what they call the ‘new normal’?
Well, it’s normal, right? It’s always sunny and the laburnum here is making a great show. You can hear birdsong, and the sound of traffic going by, and there are people going by too on the other side of the wall. But of course, it’s not normal. The great B&B next door is closed. There are no coaches in the parking bay, and we would normally be welcoming people into church with our great team of volunteers. The visitors have to stay away. We are living with the threat, and in some cases the reality, of Covid 19. It is casting its long and painful shadow on the whole earth. The world, it would seem, is suffering and holding its breath.
The story today of the travellers along the Emmaus road feels to me like they were walking under a dark cloud. It may feel like ‘lockdown’ too is like living under a dark cloud, despite the sunshine. But it’s under that dark cloud that Jesus joins them and begins to teach them. God himself is with them in all of their concerns.
And today, we’re thinking precisely of that. What is God teaching us through this time? Is he teaching us about how we value people? Who we value? How do we come together as communities? What impact do we as people of faith have in our communities? How are we stewarding our resources? How are we looking after our planet?
This week I’ve had the pleasure of working with great photographer and friend Mark McNulty, as he’s put his amazing images to a favourite poem of mine called ‘For The Interim Time’, by spiritual writer John O’Donohue. He says in this poem, how through a time of uncertainty we can endure and we can learn how to be fruitful because, for sure, we are not going to come out the same.
We have loved, and in many cases have lost and yet we endure and we learn. So here … for the interim time.