Dear friends in Christ,
Welcome to the Bishop’s Blog!
This has not been the week I thought it was going to be. The change came about because I fell off my bicycle on Friday, VE Day. That resulted in an ambulance trip to Lancaster Royal Infirmary, where I spent two days under observation. All the NHS staff were professional, kind and attentive. In a time when we are all thanking them for their work I have deep personal reasons for standing at my gate and applauding on a Thursday evening.My only worry for them was that they all seem to suffer from bad memories; across all departments, ambulance crew, A & E staff, medical ward staff, none of them seemed to know what date it was, they were constantly asking me. I am delighted to have been able to help them whenever they asked . . . . . 10th November 1327!Of course, it was largely my own silly fault. No helmet. . . . Usually I do wear one but since I was only nipping up to the shops I thought it not necessary. I was wrong. As I cycled past vehicles parked outside the shops one driver opened the door and sent me flying. I’ve no idea who that was but I do hope the person finds out I am ok. Fortunately my head took the impact so there was no real damage caused! And then I heard that Canon Embery had fallen off his bike, breaking his wrist. Let us pray for his own steady and full recovery.Thank-you for your concern. I have received so many cards, prayers, messages, including a bottle of single malt (not vinegar), fruit, chocolate, ready-meals, jam, ginger-cake, cheese and more. I must confess it was almost worth it! And these ‘Lockdown days’ are ideal for recovery.No travel, few meetings, no visitors, no events. You could think there’s nothing to do, but then we remember that this is Eastertide, Jesus is risen. His disciples were being prepared to watch Him return home to the Father, then they must wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the birth of the Church.We are not waiting for the Spirit, unless we are not Confirmed of course. We live in the days of the Spirit, the final age before the return of Christ. In time Covid-19 and its tragic, bizarre consequences will be dealt with, and then will come new problems, whether at a personal, national or global level. There will always be something else.The Faith that is given to us raises our sights to new heights and hopes. It gives our hopes and even our griefs a particular direction in which to look, as if watching for the first rumour of dawn. As my own small personal effort to help find a way through these days I will continue to post a weekly 5 – 10 minute period of silent prayer on YouTube. It is nothing sensational or entertaining. You might even call it boring, but sometimes boring can be welcome!
It is simply an invitation for us to spend a short time in quiet prayer, no need for words, no need to apologise for distractions, no need for the right book, or to expect a precise answer – just you and me taking time/giving time to be with our risen Lord who knows our needs better than we know them ourselves. Delightfully simple.