One of the benefits of Lockdown being eased somewhat is that it has become possible to see people outside – and I have found this to be a great way of doing pastoral visiting. It is such a joy to be able to see people face to face, rather than just hearing a disembodied voice at the end of a phone, or seeing someone on a screen.
So far, in the last two weeks, I have had a socially-distanced walk with a parishioner from the Shanklin cliff-top down to the sea and then along the esplanade; 2 socially distanced games of crazy-golf; two walks over at Quarr Abbey and three visits which have taken place in parishioners’ gardens.
Next Thursday the Church gives thanks for the life and ministry of St Barnabas. His name means, “Son of encouragement”; and Barnabas travelled widely with St Paul, investing time and energy in Paul, helping him to live up to his new name of apostle.
As it says of Paul and Barnabas in Acts 14:22 they put fresh heart into the disciples, encouraging them to persevere in the faith”.
These past challenging weeks, when we haven’t been able to gather together as worshipping communities, life has been very difficult for some people; especially when they’ve been facing additional problems, such as health concerns or bereavement, or those who live alone.
We all need a bit of encouragement from time to time; and Barnabas is a living example of what Jesus calls every Christian to do. As I have been making pastoral phone calls, I have been hearing how members of our congregations have been “being Barnabases” to one another, caring and showing support in a very impressive way.
However, if God seems far away, or you’re having difficulty praying and would like a bit of encouragement; or if you just feel a bit “down” and would like a chat, I’d be very happy to visit, or to go for a walk (keeping of course to the safety guidelines). Just let me know.
This Sunday is another major Festival of the Church, Trinity Sunday. I am very grateful to +John Hind for saving me from drifting into heresy by providing the homily for us for this day!
With my love and prayers,
The image is Luca Rossetti da Orta, The Holy Trinity, fresco, 1738–9, St. Gaudenzio Church at Ivrea (Torino), Italy, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Luca_Rossetti_Trinit%C3%A0_Chiesa_San_Gaudenzio_Ivrea.jpg