Eighth Sunday after Trinity
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Its been a very up and down week, just as we were getting used to having people over to our homes in very responsible ways, the situation now requires that we accept we cannot do this for a time. We are all having to get used to wearing face coverings in addition to figuring out how to keep two meters away from people. All of this is disconcerting. But as I was doing work for my new biography on the Lady Anne Clifford, I ran across a letter, which I’ll quote:
‘Your son was christened on New Year’s eve…they named him Robert by my Lady Rich’s desire. Here was my Lady of Cumberland and her daughter, My Lady of Essex and her daughter [and others]. All things were so provided [or arranged] as they had no cause to fear the small pox.’
I really wonder what they did to protect themselves from transmitting this disease, I guess they didn’t wear masks! But it was clearly a much smaller gathering than usual. This reminded me that we are not the first people to have to deal with pandemics and diseases. And as our fore-mothers and fathers did before us, we just have to get on with it. And I’ve been so proud of all of you as you have ‘gotten on with it’ so gracefully, so courageously.
In this so many of you have taken up God’s continual offer of Grace through prayer. Evelyn Underhill explains that ‘We must look at the complex natural world, including our natural selves with eyes cleansed by prayer and brought into focus through humility.’ She reminds us that ‘we have been shown the heavenly vision of the whole natural order, no less than the spiritual order’ and that this reminds us of the ‘span and depth that is required of a full Christian life of prayer’. Many of us, restricted in so many ways, have found that our prayer life is blossoming, growing out of all bounds. Evelyn Underhill would not be surprised by this.
She tells us that ‘prayer associates us with that creative and supportive love, and requires us to give ourselves as open channels through which God’s love can be poured out on all life’. God is always fully in our lives, and when we open ourselves up God’s love, love flows through us to all that we come in contact with. I know that the generosity, the caring, the suffering with others, the saying goodbye, that we’ve seen during this time has been enabled by our life within our Father God, our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Given the present situation, with the renewed lockdown and concern with rising Covid infections in Kirklees, we have been advised by the archdeacon, that we should postpone the resumption of indoor church services until September and then review if services can resume in church at that time. We have also decided not to open the churches for private prayer during August for the same reason. The wardens and I have agreed this is prudent given the present situation. Two funerals for beloved congregation members will go forward, and we will closely follow government guidelines and diocesan guidance for these. We have decided that for the foreseeable future we will only hold funerals in our churches if the deceased or his/her family is a member or has a close connection with a member our congregation and a suitable minister can be found to take the service. I would of course try to do this, but as my ‘day job’ becomes less flexible at the end of September I many not always be available.
The Parish office will not be open at any time for the foreseeable future. Anadelle continues to do an amazing job for us working from home, and we want to keep her safe.
We will continue our Sunday Zoom services! And I hope to see many of you on Sunday!
God’s blessings shine upon you this week
Revd Professor Jessica Malay
Almondbury with Farnley Tyas