Very sadly, our Vicar, Rev Pauline Lucas, died on April 10th 2020. Therefore we will be reproducing here the monthly letter from our Licensed Reader Janice Taylor as it appears in our parish magazine, the Parish News.
Letter from the vicarage
READER'S RAMBLINGS - MAY 2020
Well, I'm not too sure who will be reading this but I'm afraid you are going to have to put up with my ramblings again each month for a while. Usually I'm OK about putting my boots back on but not this time, definitely not this time. Most of you reading this will know that, as a parish, we have all been devastated by the sudden death on Good Friday of our much-loved vicar, Pauline. So this is not an easy time for any of us and especially for Pauline's husband, Stephen and their family. Please keep them all in your prayers.
Pauline is so much on our minds and in our hearts that it is really difficult for me to write for the parish magazine in the way I have written in the past when we've been without a vicar (or in the times Pauline asked me to write when she had too much on!). We are all missing her and will continue to miss her for such a long time to come, even though we are still struggling to really believe what has happened.
I do know though that Pauline would not want everything to stop because she is not here. She was very clear that church is about being the body of Christ here on earth, not simply about the vicar! So I'm thinking that she'd just be telling me to carry on rambling - so I will. Not that I, or anyone else for that matter, can ramble far in this time of lockdown.
In our beautiful villages and surrounding countryside we are luckier than most though, aren't we? We have more places to walk whilst observing social distance. We have also been blessed by mostly good weather and as we move into May we can hope for things to continue to improve. None of this has stopped many of us being afraid at times though, has it? These are such unprecedented times and it's hard to know when life will ever return to normal and for some, grieving the loss of loved ones in traumatic circumstances and for others working in the midst of those circumstances, it will never be normal again. Someone sent the following poem to me earlier this week. Apologies for not being able to name the source, and also if any of it has been copied incorrectly, but thank you to whoever wrote it.
'We fell asleep in one world, and woke up in another.
Suddenly Disney is out of magic,
Paris is no longer romantic,
New York doesn't stand up anymore,
the Chinese wall is no longer a fortress, and Mecca is empty.
Hugs & kisses suddenly become weapons,
and not visiting parents & friends becomes an act of love.
Suddenly you realise that power, beauty & money are worthless,
And can't get you the oxygen you're fighting for.
The world continues its life and it is beautiful. I think it's sending us a message:
"You are not necessary. The air, earth, water and sky without you are fine.
When you come back, remember that you are my guests.
Not my masters.”'
I agree with so much of that but would want to state that although we have certainly messed up our beautiful planet and the elements can certainly manage without us, we are very necessary to each other. What this terrible time is showing us is that we matter to one another. There are so many acts of kindness being shown by neighbour to neighbour, stranger to stranger. We cannot manage without others - that is part of being human - it is part of love. If we have realised one thing, more than any other, it is how much those we love matter to us - far more than what money could ever buy. Christianity teaches us that we are hard-wired to love because God is love and we have been created, all of us, in his image. All our acts of kindnesses are extensions of God's love for us - even if we don't believe in God! I'm really grateful to my next-door neighbours for shopping for us and for the village stores in Plaistow delivering to us.
Of course, there is still much going on in our world where love seems not to be in evidence. Some are beginning to remark that although we are all on the same stormy, frightening and treacherous sea, we are definitely not in the same boat. Some are in luxury yachts, some in strong ships, some in smaller yet sturdy boats with their loved ones, others in leaky overcrowded boats with not enough food or life jackets to go round, some on their own clinging to pieces of wood...This need not be the case were we all prepared to share more of what we have, were world leaders to pursue justice not power and wealth.
Whatever our vessel is like, God is in it with us and remember it was into the world of the poor and the oppressed that Jesus was born and grew up. It was to the homeless and marginalised that he spread his message of God's love. It was the lepers that he touched and the sick that he healed. Although we can't stop what is happening just now, we can still do what we can for those around us and be thankful to those who are doing things for us. And when this is finally over perhaps we can find better ways of being with each other and better ways of caring for one another.
Checking out how Jesus lived his life here on Earth is a good place to find out where to start...