Dear Friends,

We are still in the midst of the most challenging period that most of us have ever had to go through. It’s a time of worry and anxiety, not least if you or your loved ones are particularly vulnerable or still working on what is now called the front line. More worrying still if you or your loved ones have Coronavirus and waiting for health to return. And particularly heart-breaking if you have lost a loved one. Something that is devastating at any time but particularly so during this time of isolation. As a church we have been praying for you all!

I’m pleased to say that both churches in the village are still in contact with their members through all the means that modern technology provides for us. It’s clearly not the same as being in the presence of and hugging the ones we love and miss. But it does help and can be a means of encouragement to keep us going!

One of the ways we at St John’s have kept in touch is via WhatsApp. There are well over thirty people supporting and keeping in touch with each other through this technology. As part of my desire to help and encourage I have posted each morning a thought for the day. Others have posted prayers, favourite hymns and pictures of what we are doing to keep positive. It has been so very helpful. This is part of my post on the strangest Easter Day that we have ever experienced as a church.

“Alleluia, Christ is risen!

I love the account in John’s gospel of Mary Magdalene talking with the Risen Jesus early on Easter morning. Mary was sad and weeping as she looked into the empty tomb. And then, in her grief, she failed to recognise Jesus thinking he was the gardener. It was only when Jesus called Mary by name that her eyes were opened and she could see the Lord.

It’s clear that many are sad and tearful this Easter. Many feel a little frightened and bereaved because we cannot see the Lord in church, amongst family and friends and within beautiful worship. And that’s understandable. But try to enter the story of Mary, through the tears and from the tombs of your sadness and fear, and hear the Risen Lord call you by name. Isn’t it amazing that though the Lord is Lord of all, and all things are made new in him, he knows you intimately and calls you by name.”

Christ is risen! Which means:

In our loneliness we can find consolation.
In our anxiety we can find hope.
In our darkness there is light.

And remember, you are not forgotten. The Risen Lord comes to you, knows you intimately and calls you by name!

Please join the Church in prayer by making use of the prayers below which come from the Diocese of Lichfield.

Every Blessing. Peter

God of compassion,
Be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation.
In their loneliness, be their consolation;
in their anxiety, be their hope;
in their darkness, be their light;
through him who suffered alone on the cross,
but reigns with you in glory,
Jesus Christ our lord.
Amen.

Merciful God,
We entrust to your tender care
those who are ill or in pain,
knowing that whenever danger threatens
your everlasting arms are there to hold us safe.
Comfort and heal them,
and restore them to health and strength;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

God of love and hope,
you made the world and care for all creation,
but the world feels strange right now.
The news is full of stories about Coronavirus.
Some people are worried that they might get ill.
Others are anxious for their family and friends.
Be with them and help them to find peace.
We pray for the doctors and nurses and scientists,
and all who are working to discover the right medicines
to help those who are ill.
Thank you that even in these anxious times you are with us.
Help us to put our trust in you and keep us safe.
Amen