Many of you have probably seem this cartoon by Dave Walker circulating on social media and, for me at least, he hits the nail squarely on the head.
I have been amazed at the ingenuity and imagination with which many have approached the challenges of being church at the moment. Some, unwittingly, have given us much-needed amusement by getting it spectacularly wrong (My favourite is still the guy who managed to set fire to his jumper from a candle!) but many have provided heartfelt (even if sometimes imperfect) worship in a variety of forms.
I have been surprised, however, that many clergy still seem to feel the need to broadcasting from a church building. I tend to feel that we are currently, as someone on social media put it, a people in the wilderness and so should be worshiping God from a tent rather than tying ourselves back to a Temple. For me and Ingrid, church is currently found in our sitting room, in our garden and at our desks – anywhere where we can feel connected to God and, in spirit at least, feel connected with the rest of you as we pray our way through these final days of Lent.
I don’t know if you saw the pictures yesterday of Pope Francis giving his regular ‘Urbi et Orbi’ blessing alone in an empty and rain-swept St Peter’s Square.
On one level, this seems to be exactly the problem I was bemoaning above. However, I also found this an extremely poignant symbol of the importance of corporate prayer and of Pope Francis’ role as leader and pastor of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church. I am sure that it was of huge comfort to many millions of Catholics (and others) to know that the Pope continues to prayer for them and for the world despite his isolation. As with our service offerings on this site, the wonder of broadcast technology means that, even if we’re not joining together in a church building, the living, praying, worshipping Church of Christ Jesus, in all its many forms and denominations, is most emphatically open to one and all.
God bless! Tony