A brief reflection on this week’s readings
Exodus 2 1-10, Psalm 34, Colossians 3 12-17 , John 19 25b-27
It only was a week ago that we were thinking about how to celebrate Mothering Sunday – food or not, getting together to make flowers; how much effort should we put in to bringing people together? Those conversations seem from another age, as this week has seen the closure of Churches for public worship, schools and all places of social gathering. We are now entering a new phase of trying to cope with the Corona virus which is going to have the paradoxical affect of bringing us together while isolating us physically from each other. It is going to be a huge challenge and the nature of it will be different for us all depending on circumstances. There are lots of encouraging signs with networks of support setting up to try and help and support those who are most vulnerable. For our congregations can we keep our Sunday practice together? – reading the scriptures, praying for ourselves, each other and the world around us; while our physical worlds may be restricting, lets keep our hearts and minds wide open.
Our readings are going to feel very different and assume new meanings as we hear / read them through the prism of coronavirus – the very different circumstances in which we are hearing them; alone or in our families rather than as a gathered community. Let the words nourish and sustain you in these days.
The story from Exodus is a wonderful tale of creative thinking in a time of crisis; new born babies are being threatened with death by their Egyptian task masters, as they want to limit the numbers of foreigners in their land, and Moses’ mother with the help of her daughter Miriam, find a way of ensuring his safety and then making sure that Moses’ mother can look after the child in the court of the Egyptian Pharaoh. I am sure we will told of many such stories of people’s creative and imaginative response over the months ahead.
In one of the purple passages from Paul’s letter to Colossians, Paul reminds his readers to clothe themselves with compassion, humility, meekness and patience. Very practical advice for us too – make sure you look after yourselves well – pepper your day with different activities, keeping as active and engaged as you can. But can we think too about the needs of others – donate to a food bank, volunteer in one of the networks (if possible), make a phone call or drop a note. Lots of ways that we can stay connected and in so doing, help ourselves and others.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts; there cannot be a more timely piece of advice, but will take some discipline. Take time to nourish your soul; spend some time quietly un-distracted by the radio/ computer or tv and let a word or phrase of scripture (love peace joy) be an anchor to which you can return when your mind inevitably gets distracted.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly – our scriptures are there not for more information but to deepen our faith, to help us to grow as disciples. Let the words of scripture speak to you- if there is a particular phrase or word you are drawn to, then stay with it. Let yourself respond to scripture creatively in ways that help you.
The early Christian communities faced huge challenges and Paul’s letters were intended to encourage and empower – let them do the same for us in our circumstances today.
The brief words from the Gospel of John are intensely tender and moving; Jesus reaching out in compassion to his mother through one of his disciples just before his death on the cross. How powerless he must have felt; hurt, wounded and dying under the eyes of his mother, one of the disciples and two other women. How helpless too they must have felt, as they looked on.
Rev Jonathan Morris