A message from the Rev’d Amanda Collinson

Posted by Admin on Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 14:46

Amanda Collinson

Priest-in-Charge

St John the Baptist Church

Northwood.

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Tel: 01983 294913

Email: amandacollinson01@gmail.com

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HELLO THERE!

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Well we didn’t expect this for Spring did we? Indeed, I didn’t expect to be writing to you as I should be still on my sabbatical, but things change … and our lives certainly have, in so many ways. We in our household are in Week 5 of lockdown, some of you may be in Week 6 or 7 depending on your situation and health concerns. As it was described so many times at the beginning of the pandemic – we live in unprecedented times.

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A lovely gentleman in front of me in the queue waiting outside Aldi commented to me last week, ‘Well, there’s no point complaining, we are all in the same boat aren’t we, we just have to get on with it.’  I smiled and acknowledged his sentiments, but on reflection I now don’t necessarily agree with his words …
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We are not all in the same boat.  We may be sailing in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat. Some of our ships may be in good working order, others of ours may be leaking and only have one oar … and whilst I know there are some sailors out there, I am of course speaking metaphorically!!! And it seems that others have thought similar to me as I read the following on a Facebook page:
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• For some of you, you may have been able to embrace quarantine and the peace and quiet that it brings. You may be loving the time of reflection, of pottering in the garden, having gin on the lawn. For others of you, this may be a time of desperate financial & family crisis. For those of you who live alone you are facing endless loneliness. While for others it is precious family time with children, quality time with spouses, exciting times with new partners.
• Some of you are bringing in extra money with endless overtime, others are working more hours for less money due to pay cuts or loss in sales. Sadly, some of you may no longer have a job.
• Some of you may have been concerned about getting a certain chocolate for Easter while others were concerned if there would be enough bread, milk and eggs for the weekend.
• Some of our lovely community have experienced the near death of the virus, some have already lost someone from it, and some are not sure if their loved ones are going to make it. Others living around us don’t believe this is a big deal and continue to go out and about, ignoring the guidance.
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So, friends, we are not in the same boat and I think we need to acknowledge that. We are going through a sshared time together but one where our perceptions and needs are completely different … however, we are all experiencing  suffering in one way or another.
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For Christians like me, we have just experienced Easter and all the joy the resurrection of Jesus brings, but I have been drawn back to the section in the bible, where Jesus is with some friends and goes to prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is ‘Maundy Thursday’, the last supper has just taken place, and Jesus knows he will die soon.  In Matthew chapter 26, verses 38 and 39 it says, ‘Then Jesus said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” 39 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” ‘
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He may have been the Son of God, but Jesus was going through extreme pressure in the Garden that night. And I think we need to be honest with ourselves in that we are all going through extreme pressure – lack of money, loss of job, disconnects with family and friends, trying to home-school our children whilst working 8 hours a day: the list is endless …
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None of this is physical illness, they are all mental issues and stresses, but as we all know this type of illness can be as damaging and as painful as any actual injury.
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And whilst my message in the magazine is not normally bible-centric, I think this experience by Jesus can in a way help us through this pandemic of fear and worry:
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1. Jesus chooses to go to the garden:
This was a favourite place of his.  Whilst I have not visited my favourite place, the beach, since the lockdown, I have reclaimed a lovely armchair from paperwork, books and jumpers and now I am enjoy spending five minutes or so sitting and being in the chair every day, with the sun coming through the window.  So, find somewhere you can peacefully sit and rest there awhile each day.
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2. Jesus took his three closest friends with him.
Being separated from family and friends is up there with the hardest thing we have to cope with, but with all the technology available to us it is actually quite easy to keep in contact with one another.  This could even be the time to go ‘old school’ and get out some paper and pen and write some old fashion handwritten letters!
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3. In prayer, Jesus focused on the goodness of God
It is very easy to fill our mind with dark thoughts, but actually when we look at the beautiful world around us, we have so much to be thankful for: try to remember this every day.
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4. Jesus chose to be radically vulnerable
He asked his friends to stay with him … He asked God to ‘take this cup away’ from him.  Jesus dared to be vulnerable – how often do we do that? Virtually ‘Lean’ on your family and friends – don’t always put on a brave face, admit your struggles.
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I know turning to God is not for everyone, but I wanted to speak from my heart today and that means including my faith. All I wanted to do was to be honest and try and give you all some hope, some peace and most importantly my love during this challenging period of worry and fear.
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Be gentle on yourselves, be kind to each other, be thankful.  Most importantly know that not only are the medical professionals and other key workers in my thoughts and prayers, but also each and every one of you, the community I have the honour to serve.
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Keep safe, keep well and I look forward to seeing you in the calm, when this storm is over.
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With love
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Amanda

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