As the coronavirus outbreak continues we continue to feature regular video messages from the Bishops and Archdeacons on our Diocesan YouTube channel.
All messages have been well received and you can still view all the past messages on the channel here.
Our latest weekly message is from Archdeacon of Lancaster, the Venerable David Picken and takes as its theme 'To Pray is to Work'. The full text can be read below the embedded video. You can also download it for printing here.
We know of many parishes providing information in printed form and sending via Royal Mail to parishioners who are not able to get online. If your parish is doing that, why not add these weekly messages to your future mailings?
As you entered the chapel at the theological college I attended, you saw an inscription. It was in Latin but translated, ‘to work is to pray and to pray is to work’. It is drawn from the inspiration of Saint Benedict and its emphasis is the importance of prayer in underpinning our work and that the work we do should be an outworking of our prayer.
For the Christian, this is an important message. Whatever our daily tasks, whether ‘work’ is paid employment or not we are called to live our lives and carry out those tasks prayerfully and with the knowledge that they are to be undertaken to the glory of God. Of course, when those tasks feel more noble, caring for the dispossessed or the sick or infirm, for example, this is easier to say. Yet, all our lives are to be offered to God as we pray ‘of your own do we give you’.
During the time of pandemic one of the most notable things that has been a time of growth from our communities is in our lives of prayer together. At least twice a day at theological college we gathered as a community and offered corporate prayer to help define our life as a community. Clergy have this commitment as part of their ‘job description’ if you will. Many lay people are examples to us all of prayerful sanctity but, for the most part, this has been done privately. During this year churches have come together online and through other means to join in prayer in far greater numbers than before. For all the pain and suffering of 2020 this has been a real gift.
In recent weeks we have been praying for key workers, for schools and we are being asked to pray in November over a generous offering to support parish ministry. This is our core activity – To Pray. It is as we say elsewhere ‘our duty and our joy’. We draw close to God in prayer, hear God’s prompting for our response and receive guidance as to how we might respond.
Each Sunday, we gather on the Lord’s Day as the local expression of the Body of Christ. Government recognises this by doing all they can now to ensure we can continue to meet. As we do, we gather from the most important ‘work’ we will do all week, whether we are engaged as a key worker, working from home or retired from active paid employment or a member of a school or other place of learning. The most important thing we do is gather as the prayerful community who offer our sacrifice of praise for the good of the world and the Church. The months ahead will be challenging. Thank you for continuing to engage in the privilege of this calling and for recognising that the most important thing you will do this week is pray.
The Venerable David Picken
Archdeacon of Lancaster