There might be many temptations to avoid, so I’ll focus on the one that comes to mind, the one closest to my heart. My fear is that as lockdown eases, we will all breathe a sigh of relief and go back to the way we were.
Here’s a quote from Bishop Nick Baines blog, posted recently:
“Christian faith does not assume a life (or world)of continuous security and familiarity. It is fed by scriptures that speak of transience, mortality, provisionality, interruption and leavings. But, they also whisper that the endings are always beginnings – the leavings open a door to arrivals that could not have been experienced otherwise. In other words, the loss can be seen as a gift – what Walter Brueggemann calls ‘newness after loss’.
The temptation at the moment is to want to move on too quickly from our experience of loss, and so lose things of immense value that we can learn.
Back to Nick Baines again, who has a useful tool for helping us examine ourselves at this time:
He has suggested to clergy in the Diocese of Leeds, that it might be helpful to ask these four questions:
(a) what have I/we lost that we need to regain in the weeks and months ahead?
(b) what have we lost that needs to remain lost – left behind in another country?
(c) what have I/we gained that we need to retain in the future?
(d) what have we gained recently that was useful for this season but needs to be lost if we are to move forward?”
My last post was Song of the Day #4, home, by Foo Fighters. I chose it before I decided what to write here, but it does seem appropriate. What we all want is ‘to be home.’ To have a sense that we are exactly where we belong. To be in a place – maybe, but not necessarily geographically – where we can grow.
But to find the road home we will have experiences of what the Bible calls exile. Where we are far from home in order to learn what is really important.
This prayer, attributed to Sir Francis Drake, is one of my favourites.
DISTURB US, LORD,
When we are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.