Hear from Lucy Winkett as she ponders the week ahead.
Different people read this newsletter: some of you are regular members of the Sunday congregation, others might be part of St James’s during the week online, or other projects or initiatives. The writer E.M. Forster, whose novels often examined and critiqued society’s divisions caused by class or hubris, is famous for the phrase ‘Only Connect’. But he goes on to say ‘Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer’.
Different people belong to St James’s in different ways on Sundays and through the week as a place of worship, work, music, food, counselling, history and learning. And in common with many institutions and communities, St James’s Church is going through some significant change as we come through the pandemic.
We have a refreshed vision to be rooted in God’s earth, committed to making a just society and a creative open-hearted church. Some people love change, others find it unsettling, and most are somewhere in-between.
Today, 2nd February, is the Feast of Candlemas. Simeon and Anna, as recorded by Luke’s gospel, recognised the child Jesus brought by Mary and Joseph into the Temple. They were both, we think, in their 80s, and were simply there, where they had always been, serving faithfully, staying around, saying their prayers, but with their eyes and hearts open, ready to see the new truth that was before them.
All of us who have been here for years can find inspiration in Simeon and Anna, whatever our age. Change is not always easy, but if we are pilgrim people (named after the pilgrim saint James) then the horizon and landscape will always change as we travel together. And if anything, Covid 19 has revealed the need for change in our church and society: there is much that is simply unjust.
We are asked to ‘live in fragments no longer’ and commit to finding ways to keep connected, dedicate ourselves to the search for wholeness and, like Simeon and Anna, recognise any ordinary day as a chance to see the glory of God in the world.