Message from Bishop Rachel

Published: March 9, 2021

As we approach the first anniversary of the first lockdown on 23 March our awareness of  people’s sense of loss, including our own, becomes ever more acute. There are those who have been bereaved as well as the many other forms of loss people have experienced, whether it be work, or human contact, or so much else that was once familiar.

The charity, Marie Curie, has organised a National Day of Reflection on 23 March to acknowledge that grief and loss. The Church of England is supporting it, and there are creative and supportive resources for people to use.

Yet, while I want to be sure you’re aware of these resources and the one minute silence at noon,  I also want to underline that there is no pressure for you to have to do anything or to build in yet more activity and planning, unless you desire to do so.

When we’re navigating ourselves into something or out of something, we need clear landmarks which help us interpret the terrain around us, but there are also times when what we need is space to simply wander and to wonder, and where landmarks might be scarce. A wandering and wondering in unknown terrain can be a frightening place but it can also lead to discovery, and the wilderness of Lent is a gift we are invited to inhabit.

Over the past year I have repeatedly spoken about our calling to live fully and authentically in each present moment, aware of what is going on within us and around us, while at the same time being courageous in seeking to discern the shape of the future. And I believe that sometimes that means going into the desert to wander and to wonder with God.

For myself, I know that often it is in an almost aimless prayerful wandering and wondering when things rise to the surface in my heart and mind which then allows me to see things with greater clarity.

So, as you walk towards the first anniversary of the first lockdown, I want to encourage you and your worshipping communities to live it as seems best for you. And may these days of Lent offer some space to prayerfully wander and wonder with God.

With my thanks and prayers as ever,

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