Could anyone of us have imagined being in this situation - with government directed closure of all places of worship?
Closure of the church in this way seems extraordinary and I am sure many are afraid of the impact it will have on the future of the church. However, I suspect this will present us in the church with a great opportunity to explore new ways of being a faith community that is no longer reliant on the large gatherings of people.
This is not the first time that the community of faith has been constrained in its gathering together and probably won't be the last. The challenge for those of us who have come to rely on those weekly gatherings as a spiritual lifeline is how will we sustain our faith without it.
It may surprise some, but I have spent several periods of time quite disconnected from a community of faith, or should I say the regular gatherings of a community of faith such as occur on Sundays and maybe even midweek. Yet, I found these times to be times of great spiritual nurture and encouragement and I think it was my awareness of contemplative practices that that helped me through.
Dayspring has been raising people's awareness of these ancient Christian exercises that were designed to provide us all with close encounters with the Divine.
Dayspring Daily Prayer can become a morning anchor for us during this time. This daily gathering in "the Presence of the Three" creates an extension of the Divine Community (The Trinity) by which we are all bound to each other. Whether you are alone in your home, or praying together with the beloved companion in your home, you are nevertheless connected to all the other people of faith who are using such Daily Offices to nurture their Spiritual Life.
Contemplative Walking in your neighbourhood could be valuable for your spiritual and mental health. Walking slowly, with eyes that are looking for signs of God's presence among us, of human kindness expressed freely, of the abundance of God's provision for us all.
Lectio Divina - or The Divine Reading - might be the way for you. Reading Scripture of other sacred writings as a contemplative encounter with God and as a way of seeing ourselves through God's eyes will feed our souls and bind us to each other as fellow pilgrims.
While we may be grieving the loss of social contact with the pilgrims we have gathered with in our church each week, I pray that this may become a rich and nourishing time for you all as we discover new ways of being the Community of Faith.