The Civic and Parish Church of Bournemouth

Message from the rector – Churches may be closed – but not God’s love

Good morning.  

The picture above is of Elijah being fed by ravens. See 1 Kings 17: 2-5.  

The church buildings are now closed, as directed by our Bishops, to ensure the greatest safety for everyone, but just because we have got used to focusing our ‘meeting’ with God on Sundays and in a church building that does not mean that God is limited in those ways, nor that God’s compassion for each of us ever runs out.  In verses 7-14 of 1 Kings 17 we see how the widow of Zaraphath discovered that God’s provision never runs out. So it will be for us.  Keep praying – but don’t mistake worrying for praying.  God wants us to take sensible precautions (and so we have) and to wait upon him, as Elijah did.  He will feed us.  Not with the sacraments, until this lockdown is over, and not with the joy and delight of each other’s presence.  But God cannot be tamed, manoeuvred to do what we want, nor ordered around.  

If you look further in 1 Kings at chapter 19:9-13 – we find a distraught and depressed Elijah unable to summon God to show himself in overt power (‘Now, God, just sort out that Coronavirus, please’ we think, ‘Oh, and all the rest of the inexplicable human and animal suffering whilst you’re at it!’) but God was there (and always is) in the ‘sound of sheer silence’ – the ‘still small voice’. Never despair of God.  Keep waiting on God; keep caring, where you can, for others and for yourself. 

My friend, who preaches to us sometimes, the Rev’d Dr Gareth Sherwood, CEO of the YMCA, has produced some really good guidelines for looking after your physical, mental and spiritual health during a lockdown such as this.  We have put them on our websites and Facebook and I commend them to you.

God bless