From the Revd Alastair Bolt
During this next few weeks, many of our churches will be holding Church Councils and deciding whether to re-open their buildings for worship. If we do, we must remain vigilant and redouble our efforts to create safe environments, but there are great advantages to getting together even if we can’t worship with our vocal cords.
As often happens with novel situations, the media love to get hold of a metaphor to describe what is going on. The latest is the ROADMAP, Boris’s road map for getting us back to normal. We now have a list of dates when certain Lockdown (another metaphor) regulations will be lifted (and another!). I’m not sure that roadmap is really the right word for what is going on. A road map has lots of roads all over it, and as my mother used to say “I don’t know where I am on the map”. Today we don’t need a roadmap, but simply to know the right road to travel on to get out of lockdown safely. Sometimes when people have given me directions over the phone, I have drawn my own sketch map of the roads they mention which scrawls all over the page and even off of it onto other bits of paper! Much later, totally lost in the car I am trying to make sense of my so-called map. The Bible presents us with the definitive road map, which has all the roads on it, but also guidance as where to go; which particular roads to use to reach particular destinations. For example, if we need to reach a better financial state; to have enough money when we are short, then the road of generosity is the way. If we need to reach a good place of reconciliation with someone with whom we are no longer ‘close’, the road of forgiving them is the way to go. (Psalm 119:105.)
Since we have used the initials MAP for Methodists around Penzance I have been occasionally disconcerted by signs in galleries or in parks which are headed with the single word MAP, as in map!
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned how I had to wade through a flooded lane by taking off my shoes and socks and rolling up my trousers. Yesterday I did it again, (the second time in the last decade), this time on the beach at Upton Towans where I needed to squeeze around the cliffs as the rising tide was rapidly covering the beach. Afterwards, I just carried my shoes and kept walking. I found I really enjoyed the feel of sand on the soles of my feet. There was a sense of actually being in immediate contact with the sand rather than just walking over it. It ceased to be a matter of moving along the beach and became a meeting with it. The damp sand accommodated my feet letting them sink a little into it, caressing them with its grains and exploring between my toes. I don’t do New Age, the beach is just a part of God’s creation which He gives me to bless me, and as with all His blessings, I need to let them touch me and get to me, rather than just live through them in passing. You could try walking on grass in bare feet or even just on your carpet indoors, giving thanks for the ways God’s blessing can be felt and touched without any social distancing. (Acts 17:27.)
With warm regards and blessings to you all,
Published at 15:21 on 24 February 2021