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Pause for Thought

by Michael Ford last modified 18 Sep, 2020 10:14 PM

Since March, many things have changed across our Diocese, across the Church and across the world. As change continues, and Covid-19 practices develop, it can be helpful to take stock.

Pause for Thought

Photo courtesy Caitlin Shewell-Cooper on Facebook

The Revd Jono Tregale has been doing just that, and has had a piece published in the Sherborne Times, as below.

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Ordinarily in September a ‘pause for thought’ might reflect on the summer now drawn to an end – holidays enjoyed, travels returned from, friends spent time with. But this year things have been different. For many people long prepared plans have been thwarted, trips cancelled and fewer options on offer. And for some it has been a summer of anxiety, uncertainty and even of unexpected loss. It hasn’t been the summer we were all hoping for in March. Many will be feeling just as exhausted as at the beginning of the summer; some will have increased worry as the economy struggles to recover, perhaps fearful of a ‘second wave’ and further lockdown.

What will the future look like for us and for our children and grandchildren? For those heading to university, will they be confined to their bedrooms watching lectures online? For those at the end of their education will there be jobs for them in their chosen field, or indeed any jobs at all? For those wanting to move home, will it be possible? Much has changed. Much remains very uncertain.

And the church finds itself in that same position as the rest of the nation. After 4 months of not being able to meet in its buildings for worship – unprecedented in its history – it has gathered again over the summer but without singing, socially distanced and masked. It has never been like this before. Well, not quite. But as an institution, as a ‘community of faith’, it has been through crisis before – wars, famines and plagues – and it has survived, perhaps even come through stronger than before. The story of faith sustaining each generation, and passed on to the next. Stories of resilience, heroism, compassion, hope. And here in Sherborne a continuous story since the foundation of the Abbey over 1,300 years ago.

And it is this rich resource of the past which enables the church to look forward with hope. We may not have been able to celebrate Easter in our churches but the resurrection of Jesus, death to life, is the most hopeful act of history. That all is not lost, that darkness will turn to light. Rich resources of the past enabling us to face the future with hope. It’s not a promise that things will return to normal – the normal we used to know – but that faith will endure, that prayer, worship and caring will not cease.

What resources in your past, or experiences you’ve been through, will act as a rich resource to enable you to face the future with confidence? Are there stories within your own life, or those of parents and grandparents, which might help to sustain you through the uncertainties of the future? Stories of courage, of determination, of resilience, perhaps even of faith. Treasure them, carry them closely, ‘pause for thought’.

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