Sunday 26 April 2020

3rd Sunday of Easter

Fr David reflects…

What is life, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare

These are words I’ve used before but they have come to me anew this week. Suddenly, as I spend 20 minutes watching through my binoculars a pheasant carefully making its nest in the corner of our garden, I realise that the words of William Henry Davies’ poem are more poignant than ever before. The urgencies of my life have somehow dissipated. I know that I’m in a most fortunate position. For many people across the nation, across the world, life is more full of care than usual. Life is undone, upturned, uncertain and frightening. It’s easy to remove myself from it in this small corner of beautiful Lancashire.

With the majority of the usual demands on my life put on hold, at least for the moment, I have not only been able to spend more time in the garden, with nature, but I’ve been able to spend more time reflecting and praying. The daily patterns of prayer have been more regular than in peace time and it’s doing me good. More than that, it’s doing others good. Each day I’m joined on line for Morning and Evening Prayer and the Eucharist by dozens of people. They tell me, and I can absolutely understand why it’s the case, that they find a new and refreshed connection with God. Time set aside to be in God’s presence is a life-changing experience. Perhaps, is always a life-changing experience.

This Sunday’s Gospel reading is the account of the Road to Emmaus. Along the journey, as they travel home, two disciples (though not of the eleven) experience Jesus first hand on the evening of the first Easter Day. It takes the length of the journey and then the meal time together for them to recognise and understand who this stranger actually is. It took them time. There was no thunder bolt or lightning flash but the length of a journey, a steady conversation, the offering of hospitality and a meal shared together.

When we are anxious, afraid, worried or just plain scared it can be overwhelmingly suffocating. Time out of and away from news and media, from speculation and predicting will give us space to breathe. If we choose to it will give us space, and time, to rest in and with God. We’re all on a journey at the moment and some, we know, are much more challenging than others. God, though journeys with us -wherever they lead.

I encourage you, this week, to pay more attention to time and space – however much or little there is in your life right now – and to trust that God is present with you. Then we will all see Jesus more clearly – in the work of those in the NHS, in classrooms and care homes, in Food Banks and refuges, in post-deliverers and the emergency services. God travels with us. Let’s spend some time standing and staring.