From the Rector

Dear friends at Holy Cross,

Izzy and I have not got used to living under lockdown and I don’t get the impression that many of us have. It has been interesting to see different responses to it. Some are finding it really painful to miss their friends and family, whereas others are enjoying the opportunity for some peace and quiet and to catch up on reading or watching films and box sets.

It has been interesting to see how much people miss Holy Cross, both the building and meeting our friends there. I’ve known a number of congregations over the years but it seems particularly strong here. Praying in the church alone or with Izzy and Bess I have been struck more and more what a special and holy place is our Church of the Holy Cross.

We will return to worship together, though looking at what our leaders are saying it may well be in stages and with a lot of precautions in place. We will also have a warm church. Preparations to start the process to install new heating are going well and the Vestry are in constant contact with our consultant engineer. As a sign of your love for your church I have been massively impressed by the generous donations to the boiler fund and by the work of our fundraising team. More money is needed (not least because we are losing the income from the hall and have to draw on our reserves), but we now have a sound basis on which to build. Colin the Treasurer writes more about this in the May magazine. We will get there and Holy Cross will be physically warm as well as having a warm and friendly community!

In some ways this is quite a cheery time, but people I know have recently suffered with and died of Covid-19 and the world is currently in the grip of a great evil, a potentially lethal virus for which there is as yet no vaccine. We can respond to it with fear or by pretending it is not serious and ignoring the restrictions. On the other hand we can cheerfully embrace the safeguarding measures, look out for our neighbours, family and friends, and, above all, pray. Pray for the defeat of the virus, for all who suffer and for all key workers who serve us.

One of the most important words for a Christian is ‘and’. Jesus is fully divine AND fully human. We are called to love God AND our neighbour. Our God is both Three AND One. I have seen a number of reports from the Church throughout the world that are very disturbing. Some Evangelical pastors have claimed that Christians should still worship together as God will protect us from the coronavirus and some Orthodox Bishops have claimed that the Eucharist and Icons are so holy that they can’t transmit the virus. This is not only stupid but bad theology. We live in God’s world and are subject to its laws. We might ask why God has created a world with this coronavirus in it, but this is the world God has given us and the complaint is only valid if we can make a better one.

As Christians we, with everyone else, should follow the directions of scientists and government in order to save lives. At the same time we are called to be God’s agents by praying for the world because by prayer we join ourselves to the great stream of God’s love coursing away behind the appearances of this world which we can understand by science. Prayer is a different form of science, or rather it is an art. In our prayer we are called to be co-creators with God and share in Christ’s work of redemption.

May God bless you and yours, ask if you need anything, and, as before, I end with Jesus’ words which we used on our last Sunday together at Holy Cross, ‘love your neighbour and do not be afraid’. Keep safe and may we meet again soon!

With love in Christ,

Stephen

Photograph, the Oratory at the Rectory.

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