Fifth Sunday of Easter

I am hearing so many good things are happening in our communities with many people helping the housebound and needy. Griston Relief Charity is helping a number of people, Thorp House has received meals from the Waggon and Horses, many villages have arranged for the housebound to receive help, postman and those collecting refuse have been inundated with cakes, biscuits and scones. And I could go on. A big thank you- it is very much appreciated. Sadly we did not have a VE Day Service but we will remember this important day in our prayers.


 ‘Do not let you hearts be troubled’
It is quite amazing that the last service I officiated at was in March and since then I have been in isolation with the guidance from the Diocese that those over 70 can’t take any services. When this advice will be lifted I do not know but hopefully I will soon be with you all. There is no doubt that when we do get back one of the urgent sad tasks will be to visit all those who have lost loved ones during the virus outbreak and hopefully offer a thanksgiving service for their loved ones.
Last Sunday we were thinking about Christ the Good Shepherd and no doubt 23rd Psalm came into you mind, which is one of the most popular Psalms for a funeral service. However I have to say the reading today from St John 14 is also the most popular reading for a funeral. I think that most clergy could recite this reading in their sleep, but it is still full of sensible advice.
My wife and I have been together now for 48 years and during that time she will tell you one thing about me is that I don’t like taking advice. Whether it is being lost on a journey, knowing how to do DIY or how to garden, cook or really anything. Marian has advised me to protect myself against coronavirus. Presently she is disinfecting everything that comes into the house, including me, so if you are visiting us in the months to come you may be covered with Dettol spray! But seriously most clergy are the same they don’t like taking advice. We give out lots of advice but find it difficult to take it. Over the years I have had numerous people tell me a few ‘home truths’ which I have grudgingly accepted, but even so taking advice can be very difficult.
Jesus’ disciples generally took his advice and Jesus would spend hours with them giving them advice. It was hard going, few on them were highly educated but they were enthusiastic which was so important. The one thing that Jesus did was look into the future. In this reading Jesus prepares for his ascension. They are words spoken at the Last Supper and they are words that have brought so much comfort to the bereaved over the years and probably have been so important to the many people who have lost loved ones in recent days.
Jesus has gone before us to prepare a way and the one thing that we always need to remember is that Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. In the world at the moment there is no doubt that people need advice and guidance as to how they are proceed. On a personal level we need advice on how we are to open up churches for worship and how we are take baptisms weddings and funerals. Lois Gill, one of the Churchwardens from Caston sent me a wonderful cartoon of a Vicar baptising a child with a water pistol so as to keep a distance. I am sure most children would enjoy this especially if I turned water pistol on the whole congregation! However there are many obstacles in the way, but I am sure that a way forward can be found. But many people still  feel frightened about the future and feel lost. 

But I am hearing so many good things in our group about community support and care and nationally so many people including J.K.Rowling the author of Harry Potter books is giving £1million pounds to Crisis for the homeless and women in of refuge during the virus outbreak, is amazing.

The world looks chaotic at the moment but Jesus told his bewildered disciples,  ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled believe in god believe also in me.’   That’s sound advice and advice that we lead us all into the future. Will I take this advice? I hope so, but I am missing you all and I am missing your loving advice!

With every blessing
Adrian Bell

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