Covid-19 Rector’s Letters and Thoughts
Thought for week beginning Sunday 12th April
Anthropomorphize. Isn’t that a great word? I’m glad I have a spell checker or God knows what would have come out!! Do you remember sitting in school or at Sunday school and the teacher saying if you do… God will be very angry or if you do … then God will be happy. God cannot be “caught” or “comprehended” in any specific idea, concept, opinion, or conviction, he cannot be defined by any specific feeling or emotion either. Henri Nouwen goes on to talk about this topic,
“God cannot be identified with a good affectionate feeling toward our neighbour, or with a sweet emotion of the heart or with ecstasies, movements of the body, or handling of snakes. God is not just our good inclinations, our fervour, our generosity, or our love. All these experiences of the heart may remind us of God’s presence, but their absence does not prove God’s absence.”
God is not only greater than our mind; he is also greater than our heart, and just as we have to avoid the temptation of adapting God to our small concepts we also have to avoid adapting him to our small feelings. There is a ‘negative theology’. this doesn’t mean negative in, well a ‘negative way’, but simply reminding us there’s so much we cannot know about God. As the chorus reminds us. “Our God is a great big God”. At this difficult time, God calls us to be people of hope, of love, of charity, tolerance and humour whereas you and I are on a rollercoaster of feelings, sometimes loving and hope-filled and a moment later handing on by our finder tips. God IS love, hope, joy, truth etc. On our human journey, we’re heading toward the homeland where we will know God in a more wholesome way. But until then let us all try to live the values of the Kingdom in our limited way. Let us try in our smallness, each day, to bring forth the true Kingdom of God. So, though you may feel shaken at the events of the last few weeks and months let’s remember that God is bigger than the most devastating virus. In fact, the events of Holy Week remind us that God in Christ knew death and suffering on the Cross. But God has conquered death for Jesus Christ is Risen, He calls us onwards and homewards!!
God bless you all.
Revd. Stephen Monk
Below is a poem which may well talk about feelings you’ve been through in the past few weeks. A panic attack is a really frightening event. Being panicky or being afraid etc. doesn’t mean we lack faith. Firstly, we are human beings. We are people and not God. We are broken though redeemed. In these difficult days please remember to be kind and gentle with yourself and others. If you do panic, try to add slow deep breathing into your prayer time. Invite in the Holy Spirit the Comforter. God give you peace.
Panic – Attack!!
Closing in all around me,
Thoughts so unsettling
My heart hurts,
Nobody can ever
It’s just anxiety,
Slight Problems, Yet Keep Smiling!!
A very good friend of mine at seminary went to work with his dad as a builder and handyman. During his first week he was helping his Dad knock through a kitchen. He decided to knock down a certain door frame. Within moments of knocking the frame down the whole back wall fell down around him, he was very lucky not to have been hurt though I think His dad was ready to kill him!! It was a supporting wall. The same day he saw some Asian builders, who soon became friends, with a sign on their van reading, “You’ve tried the Cowboys now try the Indians!!”
Another truth is vicars think they can do anything!! I’ve spoken to Diocesean builders who have told me some great stories. Now, I know I can’t do DIY. We’d not been in Normanhurst Park long and we were doing a bit of DIY, but it was ok because Sharon’s dad was there. For some reason, the tap was off in the kitchen. I don’t know what I’d done or didn’t do but suddenly water came flying into the air and all over me. Chris (my father in law) looked amazed and simply turned the stop cock and the water stopped. It would have been so useful if I’d have know what a ‘stop cock ‘ was!!
Please keep in your prayers all who are affected in any way by COVID – 19. Pray for the sick, the needy, the homeless and those whose businesses are in great difficulty. We hold in our hearts and prayers all the members of the NHS.
With Kind Regards and every prayer.
Rev’d Stephen Monk
(Rector Darley Dale, South Darley & Winster.)