It’s less than 24 hours since our worst fears were confirmed and public worship was suspended in all our churches. It has been a dizzying day of managing the questions and the many unknowns, and trying to come to terms with what it means to care for a parish without church. But of course church is not the building, or even the gathering (though that is hard to imagine) – it is the network of relationships between people, and it is Christ who is the Good shepherd, Christ who cares for the flock, and leads them to still waters that will refresh their soul.
We can serve one another by pointing each other to Christ, and by fellowship – even if that is virtual and online. That most beloved of Psalms says that the Lord is our shepherd, I shall not want. We all live with deep seated fears and anxieties, sometimes well buried, but when we are most vulnerable they often emerge. We want to be in control and know what the future holds. But sometimes, and perhaps especially at times such as this, we simply have to take hold of our courage and say – the Lord is my shepherd, he will lead the way, and he holds the future in his hands. I am not in charge – he is, and he is trustworthy. I won’t always know where we are going, and sometimes we will pass through dark valleys and I will be afraid. And in times like that I will learn to trust the shepherd. And I suspect that I will need that trust because on the narrow road ahead there will be harder times than this. Stay close to the shepherd, seek the stillness and green pasture of his presence. Put trust into practice.
If you would like to talk about this and pray with others this evening, you are invited to join one of our virtual small groups. email firstname.lastname@example.org to join in. And if you can print off the attached prayers that will help a great deal.