As our nations start to ease the restrictions of lockdown there has been speculation, in the English press at least, about when churches and other religious buildings might reopen for private prayer and, eventually, corporate worship. The speculation has led to Elders and Ministers fielding questions about what might happen and when it might happen. The URC has put some very good resources out which, in sum, suggest a careful and cautious approach to both opening our buildings for private prayer and about returning to gathered worship. I’ve been discussing all this with the various Elderships I serve and, in many ways, we are trying to weigh up various risks – the risk of infection, illness and possible death alongside the risk of social isolation and missing traditional patterns of ministry, witness and service. There have been no easy answers and I’ve found it hard to fully articulate what I feel as I’ve been helping Elderships discern.
This morning the Rev’d Martyn Coe, who serves our churches in Cumbria, posted a link to a new John Bell hymn which was used at an Iona Community event recently. John has written some very moving words which are sung by Alison Adam and accompanied by Ian McLarty. The song has been made freely available provided it is credited properly. The lyrics are powerful and express very powerfully what I have been feeling but not able to articulate:
We Will Meet When the Danger Is Over John L Bell (C) Wild Goose Resource Group, The Iona Community
We will meet when the danger is over, we will meet when the sad days are over; we will meet sitting closely together and be glad our tomorrow has come.
We will join to give thanks and sing gladly, we will join to break bread and share wine; and the peace that we pass to each other will more than a casual sign.
So let’s make with each other a promise that when we’ve all come through is behind, we will share what we missed and find meaning in the things that once troubled our mind.
Until then may we always discover faith and love to determine our way. That’s our hope and God’s will and our calling for our lives and for every new day.
You can see a wee video of the song here. The score is available here You can download an MP3 file of the hymn here.
I hope you find this song useful too.
with every good wish
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