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Lockdown thoughts ... from Fr John

posted 30 Apr 2020, 14:23 by admin saintmatthews

Some thoughts during this time of lockdown.

Acts 4: 31-32

“While they were praying, the place where they were meeting trembled and shook.

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak God’s Word with fearless confidence.

The whole congregation of believers were united as one – one heart, one mind!”

Who could have guessed that when Fr Anthony steered us into looking again at “Prayer” this Lent that that would have been so absolutely key to these days of lockdown and coronavirus? (I know that we intend to restart the Course hopefully in Advent.)

To try to be the church without prayer and the continual empowerment of the Holy Spirit is like trying to breath without lungs.

We need prayer and the power of God’s Holy Spirit working in our lives to equip us to powerfully proclaim that message of hope – central to our faith – that is so needed in our World, our Country and our Village today.

One thing I noticed about my hospital stay this time was that the Doctors, Nurses and Support Staff wanted to talk, however briefly, about the strength they were receiving from their faith and from the prayers, love and support of their families. That was quite new.

I remember Maria, a Muslim Charge Nurse saying “It is the prayers of my husband and family that is getting me through this.” (She was only early twenties). “That’s how I keep smiling,” she said. And she did!

The Bishop of Salford has been amazed at just how many people have been watching the streamed Messes from Salford Cathedral. He stated “There is no comparison between our virtual numbers (much higher) and our usual attendance numbers both for Sunday Mass and Weekday Masses.” And Fr Anthony has said of our own streamed Masses that they have connected with people, not only in Little Lever, but from other parts of the world.

I am a total numpty with Facebook, but even I have noticed that a really good number of people who have watched our streamed services are not usual members of the congregation. I think that that outreach is wonderful – God Bless them and Fr Anthony, Judith and Mark.

Spring Harvest this year has focused on the Acts of the Apostles and the Early Church.

I found some of the thoughts raised extremely interesting. I’m not saying that they are totally right but, in my opinion, merit giving serious thought to.

“We do not need to replicate the Early Church, but in the words of St Paul, we need to be reminded that

“the same power lives in us” as lived in those early believers.

The Spring Harvest leaders, among whom numbered Archbishop Sentamu (York) put this out for thought – what do you think?

“We do not need more big plans, or ideas, or strategies if we are able to see the kingdom extended. We do not need ‘more of anything.’

But perhaps God needs more of us.”

We know that in this desperate situation, above all, we all need hope.

The resurrection of Jesus powerfully gives that hope and the Holy Spirit empowers us to bring hope and joy to the world – even – no – especially in these dark times.

The “Acts” Church is about people, each and every individual all empowered differently, but working together as the “Body of Christ” to carry hope into the community, into their homes and everywhere they found themselves.

The Early Church focused on prayer, family and community. They discovered that the key ingredient they needed to be effective was cooperation with the Holy Spirit through prayer.

Let’s use some of this lockdown time to renew our life of prayer and perhaps re-read the Book of Acts.

God Bless you all,

Fr John