May is a beautiful month for both hemispheres of earth. In the North, spring is gradually blooming into summer, while the South celebrates the beautiful colours of autumn and its harvest. May is also National Smile Month.
I suspect that we’re not smiling from the Coronavirus impact – children at home instead of school, self-isolation, worry, loneliness, vulnerable families including single parents, the elderly, access to food and other essentials and health risks. We have also got the impact on our emergency services: NHS, Police, Schools and other key workers out there. The places we would normally meet like our Public Houses, Clubs, church buildings and other community spaces are now closed until further notice.
So, what do we make of these times of anxiety and worry? First, I believe that we will find a way through these difficult times. Those in our communities of a broken heart will find healing from words of comfort shared. For us who are still experiencing anxiety and concern, our mourning will be exchanged for joyous blessing. Our hope and trust will be restored with a new perspective to see things differently. An invitation to re-consider our values, what’s really important and re-appraise priorities for our well-being, our families, community and perhaps faith.
There’s a bible reading, Psalm 23, “The Lord’s My Shepherd”, which excites me. The reading goes: “Surely Goodness and Mercy Shall Follow Me All the Days of My Life”. The force of the original Hebrew is even stronger: “goodness and mercy shall pursue me”. That is, they will not only accompany me and bless my life. They will run after me and find me wherever I am. This reminds me of the story of a person who was stopped by his church leader in the street. “Whenever I see you, you’re always in a hurry. You’re always rushing somewhere. Tell me, what are you running after all the time?” The man answers, “I’m running to make a good living”. The church leader responds: “That’s a good answer if you assume that all those rewards are ahead of you, trying to elude you. But what if the rewards are behind you, looking for you, but can never find you because you’re running away from them?”
What if God has all sorts of wonderful gifts He wants to give us, but we’re never home when He comes looking for us? Well, He can’t deliver them! Maybe, it is time for us to slow our pace down to receive this gift of the Lord’s goodness and mercy, His generosity and experience His love and peace in these troubling times.
In this Coronavirus situation, we all need to follow Government’s guidelines for ourselves, our families, community, NHS Services and stay safe. Our Parish churches, Parish Councils, local community organisations and Facebook Forums have been making great efforts to stay engaged with all for the well being of our village residents. And I have to say, all are doing a great job.
Our Parish website: www.theclaydonsparish.org.uk is now live. We are adding relevant content daily to our linked Facebook Community Page for online engagement in the absence of regular Sunday Church Services. Please take a look at both and join us.
Keep safe in these difficult times and I hope the next time we meet we’ll be exchanging smiles .
Stay blessed with love
Reverend Rickey Simpson-Gray
Parish of the Claydons