Half way through the week already – goodness how times flies! I love a Wednesday – it’s an opportunity to reflect on that part of the week that has passed and to look forward to what’s to come!
Usually I would have started my day by walking up to Holy Cross for the Mid Week Communion Service. It’s such a lovely, peaceful act of worship and while the numbers who attend are not vast, the Wednesday congregation are faithful in their attendance. Over the last few weeks, one of the aspects of the service I have particularly enjoyed has been preparing the altar for worship. In order to minimise the risk of cross contamination, whoever has been presiding at Communion services, both on Wednesdays and Sundays, has been responsible for setting up everything needed whereas previously this has been done by other people. I am always grateful to those who have taken on this task but I am equally thankful for the opportunity to do so myself.
Today however I have been live-streaming the service from my study. Although I miss being with people this is also a really special way of worshipping and I love seeing people commenting and greeting each other. I know for many people online worship is not a replacement for worship in church buildings but it does provide others an opportunity to join services who would not otherwise be able to do so. Equally I am very aware that for those members of our community who do not have access to computers etc, not being able to come to a church building excludes them from worship.
It really is a dilemma and one that I am constantly praying to God for guidance on as I long to be able to ensure as many people as possible are able to be part of an act of worship in a way that works for them.
The Wednesday service is the one where I step out in faith and preach without notes! This is not to say that I don’t prepare – I spend time in the days leading up to the service reading the set scripture passages and discerning what I feel God is leading me to say. However it does require me to step out in faith as speaking without notes is always scary! God is of course good and always gives me the words to say even if they can sometimes be a little jumbled! Today I focussed on the theme of thankfulness in recognition that today is Remembrance Day and a time when we traditionally show our appreciation for all those who have made the supreme sacrifice in the pursuit of peace and justice.The Gospel passage was Luke 17 11-19 – the account of Jesus healing ten men whose lives had been blighted by leprosy, yet only one returned to thank Jesus so I was able to reflect on how we express our thankfulness to God as well as to each other. Today’s psalm was The Lord is My Shepherd, so I took the opportunity to play a version of this as an opening to the service. This psalm, which is probably one of the best known, is a hymn of thankfulness as the psalmist acknowledges how God protects His children and leads them through the darkest of times.
This pandemic season feels like one of the darkest of times in recent history and the knowledge that God is with us and that He has His hand on this incredibly challenging situation brings great comfort.
The other highlight of my day has been a zoom meeting with Anna, one of our Ordinands. We are very fortunate to have two Ordinands, that is a person in training for ordained ministry, and I feel hugely privileged to be able to walk alongside them as they prepare for the next step in their journey serving the Lord. Anna and I were able to reflect on the last few weeks in terms for both Anna’s ongoing formation and the impact these have had on her personal spirituality. This in turn always provides me with much food for thought as ministry in whatever capacity as this is is an on going journey and I am conscious that God always surprises me with what He calls me to but that there is great blessing in that.
So that has been Wednesday so far! Normally on a Wednesday evening I like to go to the local Zumba class up at the Community Centre but of course this is not running at the moment. I miss this fantastic group of women from our community and the unexpected missional encounters being part of the group has brought.
I spoke earlier in the week about Ignatian spiritual practices, at the heart of which is the fundamental belief that God is in all things. I know this to be true – whether I am celebrating the Eucharist at the altar of a centuries old church or leaping about to music in the hope of shifting a few excess pounds I know God is with me. He is using me in all sorts of ways of which I am not even aware and I am ever thankful that He has called me to serve Him.
“ I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall ever be in my mouth” Psalm 34:1