All the Bishops and Archdeacons recorded videos before the recent restrictions on movement. The latest is from Rt Rev. Dr Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster.
Watch the video here and read the full text (below ...
We are used to being in control.
21st century Western society can enable many of us to live our lives under that illusion: the world on our phones, food in the supermarkets, money in our pockets, life expectancy greater than ever before. But life has always been more fragile than that.
Look at the panic buying of toilet roll. The xchool mums' WhatsApp group that I belong to circulated a photo of a sassy pair of toilet roll holder earrings: “Memories of 2020”!
Why are we buying toilet paper? Because we want to be in control in a crisis. In some small way. But we are not in control.
And more than that many people across Lancashire are finding their lives and their livelihoods out of control. But this is not new.
We need look back less than 100 years for advice from previous generations. Here’s a line from JRR Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings: “I wish it need not happen in my time”, said Frodo. “So do I” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live in such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us”.
Time that is given us is precious.
It may not seem precious when we’re wishing it away: perhaps you’re self-isolating for 14 days, finding extra space in your diary, or facing even up to four months constrained inside, except for dog walking. But our days have always been numbered.
We might not be in control, but we can still make choices. I am so impressed by how people across Lancashire in our parishes and chaplaincies have been selflessly stepping up to the plate in these times of uncertainty.
May we choose life, choose generosity, kindness, self-service. May we choose the vulnerable, poor, older people, pregnant women. Although confined in self-isolation, may we live the spacious life.
Psalm 37: “the spacious free life is from God, it’s also protected and safe. God-strengthened, we’re delivered from evil – when we run to him, he saves us.”
Ronnie Semley, April 2020