Revd Gary's Pastoral Letter October 2021

Listed Under: Vicars Blog

Vicar’s Letter - October 2021

I am sure that many of you reading this will remember the closing moments of the World Cup final in 1966 when Kenneth Wolstenholme, who was commenting for BBC TV, uttered the immortal words: “they think it is all over…. we’ll it is now” as Geoff Hurst scored England’s fourth goal to beat West Germany. I wasn’t even born then, but I know the phrase from the reruns on TV, and the last World Cup, for sure.

Well, as autumn begins to take hold and the nights draw in, there’s one thing we can say about the Covid pandemic, and that is as much as we would like it to be, it is far from over. In the past few weeks, we are witnessing a rising number of positive cases.  Boosters are planned and our teenagers can consider having the vaccine too. Confusion still persists regarding isolation after a positive Covid test.  Dentists are still wearing the equivalent of NBC gear, whereas the elderly sit together in cafés unmasked.  It’s a funny old game, as the late great “Greavsy” would have said: but it’s not a game.  Although the parishes have had the joy of celebrating many weddings, most delayed or rescheduled by the pandemic, funerals and memorials still predominate in my diary.  That said, baptisms are returning.  An unexpected bonus from the lockdowns, perhaps….

As the furlough scheme ends, people are returning to work. Or are they?  There are vacancies everywhere and shelves are low on occasions in the shops.  Roads are getting busier but not necessarily with HGVs, the roadworks are back and take longer to pass through.  Our schools are back, colleges and Uni’s resume with windows wide open.  Is this the new normal?

A sense of a normal routine returns to your churches as we resume singing, our visits to a local care home and our mid-week communion at The Orchard in Powick returns (see further article in this magazine) after such a long time. But there appears still to be a sense of anxiety out there but we can help one another. We must continue to encourage one another and bear one another’s burdens as we learn to live with the virus.

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus talks about rest for the weary with these words….

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt 28:11-end)

In this passage, Jesus invites the weary and the burdened to find rest for their soul by being yoked with him. In Jesus’ day the yoke was a wooden collar that ran across the shoulders of a pair of oxen and enabled them to jointly pull enormous weights.  Jesus invites each one of us to be yoked with him in love so that he will gladly share our lives and offer us comfort and support in our present situation.

As we move deeper into autumn, why not think about inviting Jesus to share your burdens and weariness – you may be pleasantly   surprised to experience his love and presence in the most unexpected places and times. Join us in our church services, or online if you can.

Take care, stay safe and God Bless,

Rev Gary