Due to the lockdown we cannot ensure that our people recieve their church magazine, so we include it here for free: June Magazine
The lockdown is beginning to be lifted. By the time you read this you may well know the details of what this will look like, and also be more aware of what the timetable looks like better than we do as we write this. Our hope is that our church will soon be open for private prayer, and for funeral services, but as we write we do not know when this will be. However, given that at some point we will be released back to a more normal way of living, now is the time to give some thought and prayer to what that might look like for each one of us.
We are a habit-forming species; we routinely do the same things day in day out, week in week out, and we do not give these habits much thought. We fall into bad habits, but if we’re honest lack the will to get ourselves out of them. New Year resolutions and Lenten disciplines are a sign that we know there are habits we should stop, and habits we know we should start, but if you’re anything like us we too easily drift back to our old habits after January, or after Easter. This period of lockdown has been a radical life-change for all of us, and whether we wanted to or not, we have been forced to change our habits and develop new ones. So now, as we tentatively start to emerge from lockdown, is the time to ask: which habits will you keep hold of from this time? It might sound like a strange question, but stick with us! It can be so easy to focus on what we’re looking forward to getting back to, and we’re sure that we could all rattle off a list of those things without too much difficulty. But, we wonder if there is another list, a list of things which have developed in the lockdown that we’d like to continue. Whilst many of the things which gave a pattern and structure to our days and weeks before lockdown were taken away - like school drop offs, Sunday services, going to work for many, social gatherings, activities, and/or extended family meals - we wonder what things have moved in to take their place? Is there anything good in there worth saving?
Perhaps there’s been more family time with those at home who have, too often before lockdown, been more like passing ships in the night or for whom we have merely been a parental taxi service? Perhaps, during lockdown you’ve found yourself feeling out of your depth or worried, and this has led you to carve out more more time to pray? Perhaps you’ve found more time to read? Perhaps you’ve exercised more regularly? Perhaps you’ve read your bible more yourself, because you miss hearing from the Scriptures at church? Perhaps you’ve made more effort to check in with friends and family? We, as a family, have found more time to pray, and have heard of a number of people who have developed this habit of daily-prayer; if anything is worth clinging on to, this habit is (if you need help with this, then do speak to one of us, and we’d be only to happy to help). We have also got into the habit of a daily walk, as well as daily kitchen time, when we cook and eat together at the kitchen table.
You may have heard the encouragement that “in the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.” Equally, we think we need to consider what parts of the so-called “new normal” are worth keeping hold of. As Paul encourages in Romans 12:19: “hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Have you found some good things worth clinging to? Then don’t let go of them! Of course, as the shape of life changes again, and more things clamour for our time and attention again, we might need to rethink how we can incorporate them in to our daily lives, but do not let the good slip through our fingers as we rush back to “normality”. So, before we are fully released back to rush-hour commutes, after-school clubs, and the thousand and one things which we used to fill our days with, why not take a few quiet moments, whether in the garden or a quiet room, to work out the habits you’d like to keep. Perhaps, begin with a short pray asking for God’s wisdom; then write a list of habits you’d like to keep going forward; then end with a short prayer asking for God’s help to put your plan into action. In this small way some good things may yet come out of this crisis.
Rev. Mike & Natalie.