Black and white cross

This Easter season…

A message from Revd Tim Buckley

In this Easter season it’s really good to be with you, even if it is simply through the medium of a camera lens, or audio speakers or for some of you, in written text.

I want to first begin by taking a moment to acknowledge the very real complexities, pains, perhaps fear and uncertainties that we are all living through right now.

I know some of you are probably fed up – cabin fever is exhausting. Some of you will feel very flat or alone in your isolation, those with children probably feel overwhelmed. Many I know feel lost without the routine of normal life – with no connection to friends or family – no hugs, no handshakes, or little human contact and we know too, for some, the tragedy and loss will be unimaginable.

And woven through all of this, the relentless wall to wall news updates, briefings and statistics can be both gruelling and really fear provoking.

To all of you – I want to simply remind you – that He is with You – and always, whatever our season – whether basking in the glory of a mountain top moment or passing through the valley of the shadow of death. He IS with us – with YOU, always – His rod and his staff they comfort you…

You know, every time I lead communion at St Thomas à Becket, preparing the bread and the wine at the altar, I always look up into the painted face of Jesus, depicted on the wooden screen in front of me–yes, it’s somewhat sentimental, a little bit shampoo-advert in style, but nonetheless it’s an affectionate and tender painting of Christ as the good shepherd… warmly leading, guarding and holding his flock.

The Lord is my Shepard, David says – and we echo his cry along with him affirming – that because of this truth – I willfear no evil.

Last week, a really close friend of mine wisely observed – that really, we as followers of Christ should stop using the word isolation, and maybe replace it with solitude…. Solitude is a really positive spiritual discipline – it’s the place of deeply encountering God and dwelling in his house. Abiding in Him… So in this season, I urge you to not simply feel you are called to survive, to ‘get through’ – to daily live batting away fear from dawn till dusk (PAUSE) rather, I think the good, good Father, wants us to experience something far better than that, better than just survival – He wants us in these days to thrive in Him. To rediscover Him, with an unparalleled level of friendship and closeness. To find again the fulness of Life that Jesus spoke of and offers to us as we truly Abide in him.

Teresa of Ávila, an amazing woman of God, a 16th century Spanish nun, gave this profound advice… ”Settle yourself in solitude and you will come upon Him in yourself.”

In these days – I believe we’re truly being called aside – to simply dwell in Him. To read His word, to meditate on God’s character, to worship, to pray, to listen, to be still… and know that He is God

So, when you find yourself weak, in the dark, uncertain about the future, when all colour and hope is draining out of life, and as the Psalmist puts it in his question – why so downcast oh my soul? – LOOK UP! Just like I do at the altar table every Sunday – Fix your eyes on Jesus, your Good Shepherd. Stick close to Him – I can assure you; He won’t stay 6 feet away from you.  Trust Him, Trust inHim, Trust that He knows the way through this valley, let him lead you and guide you… Dwell with him, rest in Him….give your burdens, your fears, your family, your neighbours, your community, to Him. Place yourself, little sheep, into his strong hands – and always remember that every valley, though hard and unfamiliar, though full of shadows, is always pathway to something beyond…green pastures, still waters, mountain tops…

The Lord is my shepherd, our shepherd… the shepherd, who became the lamb of God, the One – who because of His unending great love, laid down His life for the sheep.

In Him… I shall not want.

He restores my soul.

Love Tim x

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