Welcome to this Eucharist to all those who are gathered from across the Diocese. Today the Church cannot gather.
We are scattered like salt. God is with us in our homes and workplaces. We come together to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead as we do each Sunday. We seek God’s strength and hope and comfort, to pray for our world and to commit ourselves afresh to God’s service.
Psalm 23 has been a source of strength for thousands of years. I want to suggest we say it every day through this crisis we now face.
The Psalm is written for people like us. People who are anxious and afraid. People who are stressed and confused. Those who are sick and bereaved.
When we are isolated and alone, we remember God is with us:
The Lord is my shepherd, therefore I can lack nothing
When we are tired and confused:
He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters
When we are worn out with worry:
He shall refresh my soul and guide me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake
When we are sick and afraid and if we lose those we love:
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
Your rod and your staff they comfort me
When we face difficulties today and we hope for a better tomorrow:
You spread a table before me
And my cup will be full.
In the face of trouble and difficulty of all kinds, we remember Jesus’ promise of life beyond death: And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
It is so painful that we can’t meet together today in churches across the land to comfort one another and find hope. But there are things we can do. We should do them.
The Lord is with us in our homes this morning in this service and many like it. Jesus is with us as we help and comfort each other through the phone and the internet and as we reach out to others. As we work to bring comfort and healing and care in our daily work or by doing what we can.
We are still the Church even though we cannot meet. We can pray for God’s mercy on our nation and our world and those we love. We are able to receive communion spiritually in this time even though we cannot receive physically. There are ways to love and serve each other and to love and serve God’s world.
You are not alone in this time, and we all have a part to play in responding to this crisis, not least by social distancing.
Today is Mothering Sunday. We give thanks for our families and hold them in God’s love. We give thanks for God’s family, the Church.
The Church is born at the foot of the cross as Jesus entrusts his mother and his friend to each other: the ties which bind us to Christians across the world are strong bonds of love.
We draw near to God this morning in quietness and trust as a contemplative Church.
We draw strength from God this morning to love others as a compassionate Church
We draw hope from God today as we seek to be a courageous Church whatever may come.
May God bless us and guide us in the days to come. Let us pray each day: “The Lord is my shepherd.”