Contribution from St Mary the Virgin to the Buxted Messenger – August 2020 Edition
As we have emerged somewhat blinking into the daylight of post lockdown life one of the joys is being able to worship together in our Parish churches. You will always be given a warm welcome at our 11.15 Mass each Sunday at St Mary’s, never more so than at our Patronal Festival, which is held to celebrate the Feast Day of the Blessed Virgin and which this year will be held on Sunday 16th August. Due to Covid-19 restrictions regrettably there will be limited spaces so do make sure to come early so as not to miss out.
We have become used over the past several months to lockdown worship and meetings. Endless Zoom screen time. It has been a gift for many, isolated and cut off from family and friends.
But unlike Zoom our companionship with God through Jesus is not dependent upon receiving a link and dialling in. God is with us at all times, wherever we go and in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. God is not just for Sundays or the happy times but he walks alongside us, providing us with his strength, for the difficult hard times, even the dark valley times, in our lives.
In the New Testament letter to the Romans (8:38-39) St Paul reminds us that “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
And when you dial up to Zoom you wait to be admitted to the online meeting by the person who has invited you. Not so with God. We all probably remember the parable of the lost son, who took his father’s portion of wealth and squandered it. He didn’t believe that upon returning home he would be welcomed at all. But we are reminded that the father, just like God, who had been waiting expectantly, whilst the son was still some way off from reaching home, ran out to greet him and threw his arms around him in love. He is so filled with joy at his son’s return he doesn’t question or lecture him; instead, he unconditionally forgives him and accepts him back into his home. That is the message of our Gospel, grace given to us without limit. No waiting to be admitted.
And although, when the Zoom call is over, everyone presses the link to leave the meeting, God remains with us. There is no checking out by him. As the Psalmist says: “I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side.” (Psalm 16)
And so whilst Zoom and other online technologies bring all our family and friends close to us virtually, in reality, God is always there to love, support and care for us in every situation we find ourselves night and day.
Every blessing to you all from the congregation at St Mary’s.