We’ve been busy putting together an online service for VE day this week, it’s been great working together with the Methodist and Roman Catholic churches to produce something really special. It will go online here https://stmaryshambleton.org.uk/ on Sunday morning from 10.30 am.
We hope it will be used in local care homes and with people who don’t have the internet too, as we produce DVD copies. Do email me if you would like one or could help making copies for your local area firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can be confident of God’s presence in the mess that surrounds us at any time. But now especially it seems particularly challenging to see the next steps for us as a country. Like you I’ve got friends and family who’ve had the virus and we’ve lost one relative from a care home to Covid 19. I won’t be able to attend the funeral as it’s too far to travel, and instead I’m helping local families grieve their loved ones. It’s not easy when we can’t get together but we are of course finding ways through it.
The ‘Blitz spirit’ was something like this phenomenon, when people suddenly realised what counted in life, and it wasn’t the possessions they’d had blown up, or the buildings they’d known all their lives that were destroyed, but news that someone was coming home unharmed from the war. It was making the best of what was available, and we will be doing the same this year. Getting together on our streets from a distance, singing, dancing and waving at each other.
I’ve heard so many wonderful stories of neighbours helping out, and charity fundraising going on, that sometimes it’s hard not to feel slightly inadequate when I can’t face getting out of bed in the morning, or my dream of running more regularly has not quite happened. As a working mum, it’s always a balance between the children and work but like many of you I feel that tension particularly strongly when we are all at home together! I’m learning to take each day as it comes, and cope as best I can, doing the bits I can to help.
This reminds me of a reading about two women in conversation with Jesus in their home. They were friends of Jesus and his apostles and I expect had a houseful at the time. One sister Martha was rushing around trying to get dinner ready and cater for the sudden influx of people who had tagged along to the gathering. The other sister Mary was sitting on the floor transfixed by Jesus words and seemingly ‘doing nothing’. Now Martha usually comes off worst from this comparison because she tries to intervene and says to Jesus, please ask Mary to help me, don’t you care I’m doing all the work by myself? But Jesus says ‘Only one thing is important. Mary has made the right choice, and it will never be taken away from her.”
Was making dinner not important? Well no of course it was, but what I think Jesus meant, was there are only so many things you can do at once. Mary although not named as one of his twelve disciples was sitting at his feet, hanging on his every word. She’d gone to his school in the living room, to learn about God. At the time the expectations of women in Jewish society was probably not that they would be scholars of the Torah. Jesus however says she’s made the right choice, in front of everyone else. Martha too was a loyal and regular host to Jesus and his followers, and shows great faith in accepting him as God. They both just showed it in different ways.
So today I hope you will enjoy the peace and community of the bank holiday where you can find it. Please don’t worry about all the things you can’t do right now, the people you can’t see, or the ideal bank holiday you imagine others might be having, just be mindful that there is only one thing to do at a time. Jesus wants to be alongside you in all your business and in the quiet times too.
While Jesus and his followers were travelling, he went into a town, and a woman named Martha let him stay at her house. 39 She had a sister named Mary. Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to him teach. 40 But her sister Martha was busy doing all the work that had to be done. Martha went in and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are getting worried and upset about too many things. 42 Only one thing is important. Mary has made the right choice, and it will never be taken away from her.”