I expect it has been somewhat of an emotional blow for us as a community of faith here in Leicester to find that we are going back into lockdown locally. I know for myself it has some immediate impact on our family life. We currently have my mother-in-law staying with us (we formed a bubble with her) and were expecting to take her home to Wiltshire this coming weekend. This will now no longer be possible so she’s staying with us for the time-being.
I met a few of our congregation this morning as I was prayer-walking the parish, and they expressed disappointment and sadness at the extension of lockdown and the impact to families and plans made - especially in regard to schooling. I understand their feelings. For many of us this time has been hard and we were looking forward to it coming to end in some form in the next few weeks. It feels like hope has been taken away. Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester, has written today of the impact to Leicester as a city and the Anglican churches here.
I wanted to write to you, our St John’s family, to firstly say that we are here for you. If you need anything from practical help, to a listening ear then please do not hesitate to get in contact with a member of the church team, your home group leaders or someone in church you know and trust. We’re all in this together. We’ll get through this as a community and we’ll be stronger as a community.
Secondly the extension of lockdown is about protecting lives. It would be easy to point fingers of blame and recrimination, but I believe we’re called to extend grace and to do what’s necessary for the good of our whole community. We’re especially called to safeguard the most vulnerable, no matter what age, ethnicity or class. Please bear with this extension of lockdown with a mind to that principle.
We could also be shouting at God and asking why this happening, but last night on the Prayer Course we were challenged not to ask “Why?” but “Where?”. Where is God present and working in the midst of the circumstances we face? What does he want to do in us and through us? How can we be joining in with his working?
Lastly, lets continue to pray for our city and our county. We’ve started to pray for the streets of our parish. If you haven’t chosen a street (not your own) then can I encourage you to do so here, and you may find these prayers of use as you start to do so. David and Susan Hind of Trinity Life Church with many other church leaders across the city are asking us to pray for change. We have a sense that God is birthing something in this coronavirus crisis. Let’s be praying into that. Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, and ask him to have his will in us and in our city.