Thought of the week
“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you.’ Then He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”
John 20 v 21 & 22.
I went shopping this morning. It was a strange new experience. It is such a long time since “non-essential” shops have been open. Of course, it is not so long ago that I have forgotten what it was like to walk down a High Street. But this experience was different. It was far more cautious. Shop windows bore notice after notice of Covid related instructions. The baker allowed only one customer at a time into his shop. I, like everyone else, was wearing a mask. Indeed, I was going to The Sheep Shop to buy a new mask.
The shops were open, but the approach was cautious and the future uncertain.
Last Monday, I sat, correctly distanced, with a friend at a table in the grounds of Wharf Station. This is the main station on the Talyllyn Railway and its cafe had opened for outdoor service.
A lone engine stood at the platform. Perhaps the Company had put it there as a reminder that train services would resume next week. It sat percolating away to itself and, every so often, let off a burst of steam as though it could not wait to get started.
When it does, it will follow the same track to the same destination, but the journey will not be as it was. Carriages have been adapted for social distancing and, for the moment, all intermediate stations have been closed. This will not worry “Tom Rolt”, my eager engine. Each train he hauls will be an express.
Churches too are coming out of mothballs. Some already are open. Others are making plans to resume public worship. Some, like “Tom Rolt’, are hurrying, full steam ahead. Others, like the baker, are putting a cautious toe in the water, ready to retreat quickly if need be. Some fling the door wide open. Others peep cautiously round a crack.
And why do we open the door? Is it to invite others in or to let ourselves out?
Jesus entered a room where the door had not been opened by even a crack and opened it for His disciples. He sent them out into a world that was the same and yet strangely different. His instructions were simple, they were to bring people in so that they could discover for themselves the wonder and joy of being close to God.
His disciples ranged from the eager to the ultra cautious, but all were enabled to use the talents that they had because each was assured that they would not be alone. They would work in the strength of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus does not change in His Love. As we open our doors to a world that is familiar and yet changed, we may face the future with confidence because we do not do so alone. The Holy Spirit is our comforter and our guide.
May He bless you and your Church with His inspiring presence today and always.