One of the things that is keeping a lot of us going in lockdown is watching the changes in creation around us. I’ve been watching leaves change from bud to full leaf; trees blossom; buds come into full flower; and bees and butterflies taking advantage of this abundance. Birdsong has been really noticeable as well: it is hard to be sure whether there is more than usual this year due to decreased human activity, or whether it is more that staying home makes me more likely to pop into the garden and notice. In and around the strangeness and very real loss of lockdown, I am also grateful for these small things that keep me grounded, remind me of God’s goodness and offer hope.
At times I find myself reflecting on what happens after lockdown: I have some big questions around how we ensure that we keep hold of some good habits when we re-engage. Our carbon footprints have been low, with less car use, less planes in the air, less travel. Air quality is improved, and there are all kinds of stories about good neighbourliness and generosity. Lots of questions can’t be answered until we have greater clarity about the timescale and ongoing restrictions when lockdown is eased. That said, it isn’t too early to give prayerful time to noticing what we have appreciated and will want to hold onto when emerging into the new normal.
In the meantime, these are a few things that some may like to explore:
- Prayerfully notice your reaction to the changes. What is good that we can celebrate and appreciate? What losses are we mourning, whether thinking of loved ones or aspects of our lives? What might we learn of God and God’s ways that we want to remember and keep with us after lockdown?
- The Easter season prayers in nature connect our appreciation of creation with our faith in the God of resurrection hope. Easter 2020 praying with nature
- For some this may be a good opportunity to explore the ecochurch website to become familiar with how it works, to have a go at the survey and note which aspects are those that will need working on for your church when re-engaging in the new normal. We only need eight more churches to achieve bronze in order to reach our target of the bronze Eco-Diocese award by the end of 2020 – it feels possible, even in lockdown!
- Engage with the various resources that help us to notice the natural world, such as those on the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust website. Signup has opened for the lockdown version of ’30 days wild’ in June.
The blossoming of creation is a much needed reminder of the goodness of God: may God be with us, bringing Easter hope in these strange and difficult times.
Cate Williams, 29th April 2020