Forget the former things; do not dwell in the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43 v 18-19
My dear friends,
As I look back over these last eight months, I realise how many things I used to just take for granted. Who would have thought that a time would
come when we would not be able to have a cup of tea with friends or family in our own homes, which is the reality for a lot of people
throughout the UK at the moment? And did any of you think that you wouldn’t be able to worship in our church on a Sunday morning? It really is
true to say that you don’t appreciate what you have until you lose it. I am sure, like me, you have found it hard not being able to worship
together in person in our church building. There is so much I miss about not worshipping in Christ Church every Sunday, but I have enjoyed trying
out new and different ways of worshipping such as our regular Sunday morning services on Zoom and watching services streamed from the
Marlow Methodist church.
And there are positives about this new way of worshipping. I certainly think that I listen more carefully to David’s sermons and therefore reflect
more on his words. When David is in front of me on the screen, he seems to be speaking directly to me, so I have to pay attention! Unfortunately, I
have not yet been able to join any of the Taizé services, another new and more meditative form of worship, but I know that they have been well
received by those who have done so.
I have discovered that we can still enjoy fellowship with one another even if we can’t meet face to face. I have got to know many of you much better thanks to Martin’s Friday afternoon tea-house. I have also made more of an effort to keep in touch with some of you by phone. By sharing worship with the Maidenhead congregation on Zoom every week and chatting to them over coffee afterwards, I have got to know them all, something I failed to do when we used to meet for our quarterly joint services in Maidenhead and Marlow. So, every cloud has a silver lining.
This got me thinking about what other silver linings the current situation has brought. I think that one of the main benefits has been that it has
given us new opportunities to live our faith through our actions. During lockdown, those of us who were able to do so were shopping and running
errands for our vulnerable neighbours. A number of you, including those who were self-isolating, supported Project Wingman by baking cakes for
NHS staff at Wexham Hospital. We all provided support to the vulnerable and needy in our community, one of us by working at the One Can
warehouse, others by helping arrange collections for One Can in their streets and many of us by contributing goods to our One Can Harvest
collection. Others have been volunteering at Seed 1 where they have been making up food parcels. We also provided funds to Seed 1 and to a project in Marlow Bottom providing meals for the vulnerable.
We are reaching out to our local community by making our Church garden more accessible and providing an oasis of peace and calm where people will feel welcome. We have shown our care for God’s planet by installing a water bottle filling station at the entrance to our garden. And we haven’t forgotten about our mission work in Zimbabwe. We have just sent ArtPeace funds to buy seeds and fertiliser.
I know that some of this mission work would have happened without the pandemic, but I do think that the pandemic has encouraged us to think what more we as Christians can do to help others and to share and show God’s love through our actions. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2 v 10
May God bless you all,