A talk for what would have been our Wednesday communion on 18/3/20

Hello, I’m David Gillard, vicar of St Elisabeth’s Church here in Eastbourne. A small group would normally meet to pray and celebrate communion together on a Wednesday morning. We cannot do that at present because of the virus outbreak. But is important that we continue to worship in other ways. Here is a very short reading and talk, together with a prayer instead of formally meeting together.

 

Romans 8: 38-39

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

Talk

This all feels very unreal. None of us saw this one coming. The virus. Yes, many people will get through this with a mild to moderate illness. But many will be very ill. Many, sadly will die. We all have a responsibility towards one another to keep as well as we can though good hygiene and social distancing so that those who do get ill may have the opportunity for the care they need. That is the reason why we are not meeting today IN church, yet this talk is an expression FROM the Church.

 

We are all reacting to this situation in differing ways, as conversations about the need to buy toilet roll show! Humour to one side, while the national Church is not operating as it did just last weekend, private prayer and worship will continue. So, for the present, I offer this by way of shinning a light for the Church and as encouragement for all who may listen or read this.

 

Today is not a time to address the theme of why there is suffering, although, clearly many will. Perhaps today is a day to recognise in all humility our need for God, seen clearly in Jesus Christ. Many will be calling on his name today, some for the first time. May these words written down by St Paul nearly 2000 years ago encourage us:

 

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

This is Paul’s lived experience. He knew this clearly for himself in many challenging situations. I do hope these words can provide a bit of fuel for the fire; a bit of encouragement if you are feeling low, today. Nothing can separate us from God. Its simply as we call to him in all honesty and longing, that we can recognise that we are not separated from God, he is there. Rather, that trusting in who Jesus is releases that love which we are so in need of at this time.

 

Amidst this broken world we are loved by God. We are not abandoned. We are loved. You may need to know that this morning.

 

Let me say a prayer – if you are in agreement, add your Amen at the end.

 

Dear God,

many are frightened,

many are in need of feeling loved.

May we know your love in a deep way today,

offered to us through Jesus, your Son.

May we know that nothing can separate us from your love.

 

We pray too for all who are suffering;

We pray for drs, nurses and all hospital staff

who today will be serving us in incredible ways;

We give thanks, too for those recovering from this illness,

yet we ask for comfort for those who will mourn.

 

We ask that we will experience your love 6 over coming days.

Amen.