Thanks again to those who responded to last week's email. Keep them coming!
My Laugh Out Loud momentof the week was when last week’s new song (https://youtu.be/u7uTCXBx5JU) was compared to something by Harry Secombe. I had mentioned on my personal FB page that I thought it was a case of Songs of Praise meets Val Doonican, but Dave Sunman (Ramridge BC) suggested more Harry Secombe! I have to say I laughed out loud at that comment. In days gone by when I sang in various rock bands I used to get comparisons with Peter Gabriel & other cool singers, but having watched the video again, I truly get the Harry reference. I hope you had some laugh out loud moments this week – it’s good for the soul.
Desert Island Disks …. The midweek group we sometimes ZOOM attend did a version of Desert Island Disks this week. Each person picked ONE song and explained why. I have to say it was a very moving and often fun-filled evening, getting glimpses of what really makes people tick. It needed more than one week, so I haven’t done mine yet, but I have found picking one song really hard. I thought maybe ‘Suppers Ready’ by GENESIS, but it is something like 26 minutes long, so I will probably need to find something else. I wonder what your song would?
On a more serious note, is it my imagination, or have the anxiety levels been ratcheted up this week?
1. For us as Pastors and church leaders there can be anxiety produced by ‘itchy feet syndrome’ as we begin to prepare/ explore what & when post lockdown. There is a lot of stress around this, a lot of online ‘noise’ which can feed our anxiety. (This email may be part of that – sorry!)
2. There is lockdown weariness, observed in the throwing caution to the wind rush to beaches and beauty spots. But for those who are still observing lockdown the relentless nature of it all can produce a significant build-up of anxiety. I observe within myself and others that feelings of disconnectedness, isolation and ‘heaviness’ can grow just beneath the surface and begin to affect wellbeing. A friend noted “I’ve been doing ok but this week I’ve been hit with major anxiety from nowhere, struggling to eat, to sleep. But I know I’m not alone and know I just have to take it day by day.”
3. There is future anxiety: a growing awareness that lockdown hasn’t necessarily ‘sorted’ the problem, and we are probably going to have to live with the presence of this virus until a vaccine is found (if ever).
4. For many there is economic anxiety: while the Government's schemes have helped many in the immediate crisis we are aware that these cannot go on forever. Then what?
With all this anxiety around What Would Jesus have us be? As I am writing this I look up at the piano that my wife plays and there is a piece of sheet music on it which I do not know. Its title is ‘WALK WITH ME’. Now there is a bit of advice! I am often struck by the simplest of things, and this is one of them – the thought that everything that Jesus did he did at walking pace. And he invites us to walk with him at his pace, and as we learn to do this hopefully his peaceableness, his inner stillness, trust, and sense of non-anxiety will rub off on us! Be still and know.
Blessings one and all
Liminal Time - by Beth Merrill Neel
They say this will all be over,
Sooner or later
That this won’t last forever
That this is a temporary, though difficult, time
A passing phase
A passing pandemic
But isn’t all time temporary, passing phases,
Passing minutes, hours, days, seasons, years?
Isn’t time just a human construct
A way to measure – what?
Our failures to act?
This is liminal time, time on the edge
Time of misstepping and falling off the cliff
My time is now unbound
I do not know what day it is, or what I’m supposed to be doing
A friend suggested waking up every day and while getting out of bed shouting the day and date, just to keep ourselves grounded
They say that to offset a panic attack you should be very present
Notice what you see, smell, hear, taste, feel,
Ground yourself in the immediate now.
Isn’t that what we are supposed to do all the time anyway?
Be present? Notice?
This is what it is, right now, in this moment
What it will be in the next moment, we cannot know
Look: the gardens are blooming.
Smell: the coffee brewing.
Listen: that bird keeps singing the same song, over and over again.
Taste: the bread and the wine.
Feel: the skin on my hands so dry from constant washing.
This too shall pass, as all things do.
Pentecost Sunday possibility? BMS is trying to get as many churches as possible to remember their global neighbours in this crisis, and they are doing a special day with special resources entitled Solidarity Sunday on Sunday 31 May. They are encouraging as many churches as possible to dedicate their online church service, or a segment of it, to remembering those worst affected in the Coronavirus crisis. “Solidarity Sunday also falls at Pentecost, a wonderful opportunity to remember that we have a God whose gospel and living hope is for all nations.” Resources etc to be found here: https://bit.ly/SolidaritySunday20