The Church is on its way towards the feast of Pentecost, when we celebrate the birth of our Holy Mother Church and the dwelling of the Holy Spirit among us.
Long time ago, this feast was an incredible moment for all the disciples, as they were filled with the power of God, and those who were converted by them.
Since Ascension Day, we have been deeply praying the Christian initiative called ‘Thy Kingdom Come”. However, this year is particular, for we have been praying during the pandemic lockdown. Usually across the United Kingdom, we have a great variety of activities, worship time or family gatherings. Something that people can share together. This time of prayer this year has been difficult, we all experienced it.
However, though the churches are closed, our hearts are still open and in fire for the love of Jesus. Since the beginning of the lockdown, we all have experienced the gift of prayer at the most intimate level in our lives. We have relied even more on this unmeasurable gift. All the joy, the completeness that it provides.
Over the last years, I have tried to take my part in this great week of prayer, not suggesting the greatest activities to my priest all the time, I confess. I was too afraid to be disturbed in the “doing” of things in the “being” of the prayer. To keep our soul busy is not the best way to be aware of God’s presence around me. So, I have committed myself to pray for my family and friends, that the transforming love of Jesus Christ our Risen Lord may dwell in them. As a lay member of the Holywell Community, I have included my fellow brother Nathaniel, our sub-prior, episcopal visitor, diocesan bishop and all our dearly beloved parishioners. Brother Nathaniel and I have shared our time together in prayer for all.
I have been praying the Lord’s Prayer throughout the week, trying to put my own emotions and feelings into, to be closer to God in sincere honesty and love. This current situation of lockdown helps us to realise that the gift of prayer is at the heart of all Christian discipleship. Martin Luther called it the breathe of the Christian.
This situation exposed our frailty, how we need our neighbours to survive, that society is made of many faces, all important and necessary for the wellbeing of all. As we are all interconnected, we need each other to face this crisis. The path of reconciliation towards God cannot be achieved by ourselves, alone. In order to be fulfilled and happy, we need to be open to our neighbour and support them in prayers and deeds.
The Church being the Body of Christ, when one or two are praying, they aren’t actually alone, but surrounded by the Christian disciples across our cities and nations.
When we pray to God “Thy Kingdom Come”, we ask him to make his will done in our lives. We are in a relationship of trust and love with the Lord. We want him to be deeply praying among us. The earth and the heavens are working and praying together, when we let the Holy Spirit move among us and the Communion of Saints support us, in unity of faith. In prayer, there’s no need to hide ourselves, for the Lord wants us to be honest in all things we undertake. There’s no shame to feel, no guilty, for the Lord is welcoming us and mercifully forgive us.
Over the last days and weeks, we have been praying for the people working in health services, in supermarkets, for our local and national authorities dealing with this pandemic. We are all grateful for this sacrificial work they have accomplished on behalf of the nation and for our own safety.
The week of prayer isn’t over after Pentecost Sunday. “Thy Kingdom Come” are the words of Jesus himself, we need to take them for us a legacy. When the apostles asked how we are supposed to pray, Jesus didn’t give magical words but providing an openness to God. Thy will be done means our words are not the ultimate ones, that the Lord has the final words about this pandemic, all will be fine.
Jesus is with us in the pandemic. Let us continue to pray and be filled by his grace.