Well, here we are, on the point of a second lockdown. This time, it feels different to our common and national experience in March. Then there was an unknown aspect of what the pandemic would bring. Now, we are in the middle of the anxiety and uncertainty over the state of the economy, having lived through six months of restrictions already, as well as the health impact Covid-19 has on us. A little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing (to paraphrase Alexander Pope).
Last time there was a universal application of the requirement to lockdown everything, including our churches, and in the general state of unawareness that prevailed at the time, this was generally accepted by all. Now, though, there is a greater determination to explore possibilities so that the fear of Covid can at least be ameliorated by our response to it. So, although cathedrals and churches have to close for public worship, this time we can stay open for private prayer. We can live-stream services over the internet so that worship can at least be accessible virtually if not actually.
This is, I feel, a response of the human spirit that can neither remain passive or helpless in the face of danger. Of course, we need to be sensible and be mindful of the safety of everyone. We do not take the projections of the health professionals lightly at all. But if we surrender completely to helplessness then something of the human spirit will be subdued. It also compromises the Christian hope that should be at the heart of everything we undertake, especially in the bad times: it would be a shallow faith indeed if we confidently expressed it only when things were going well.
I realise that for many people, another lockdown will be seriously challenging, especially as we are moving into the darker evenings which can exacerbate a sense of isolation. But it is also the time when we move closer to the season of Advent, the time before Christmas when, at the darkest time of the year (in northern climes), we prepare to celebrate the birth of the eternal light of Christ.
Truro Cathedral will be a beacon of hope during this time. In our prayers and in our worship we will continually point to the love of God in creation, and express that eternal hope that is God’s blessing to us all.
With every blessing.
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.