Home is where the heart is
I began my pastoral letter earlier this week with a Bible verse that often makes me cry (oh, not crying again, I hear you, er, cry) - well, tough. It's true, because when we got married, Megan came into the cathedral on her dear Dad's arm to Parry's setting of Psalm 122:
'I was glad when they said unto me: we will go into the house of the Lord'.
But I chose that verse, not to remind to me of the best day of my life, but because some of us are going to do just that this weekend - we're going to go back into Great St Mary's. And I hope that we will indeed be glad to enter the house of the Lord. I preached two Sunday's ago about Isaiah's experience in the house of the Lord: and I hope that you will indeed encounter the majesty and call of God this Sunday. But if you do come to Great St Mary's, you will find that it it is not only the hem of His robe filling the Temple, but hand sanitizer, masks, a plethora of signs reminding you about social-distancing, as well as kindly stewards who need both your patience and obedience as they tell you where to sit. It is going to be very different, and, while it might be new, it most certainly isn't normal. I will do my best to make it work. Pray for me.
Many reading this will not be coming on Sunday, for all sorts of good reasons. That's why we're going to keep producing high-quality acts of worship online Sunday by Sunday until the pandemic is over. And while I know these services are appreciated and valued by huge numbers, I know too that, for some, they underline the reality of being apart. One member of our church was commenting to me last week about her experience of exile. That may ring true for you too.
So here is an important truth I want to share. It is this. Whether you are praying in a church building, or at home on Sunday, you are a part of the real, actual, household of the family of the living God. The Body of Christ. That household is far bigger than any 'bubble'; it transcends not only space but also time, connecting us in and through the Holy Spirit with the saints, celebrated and unsung; with angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven; with the fellowship of Jesus' friends in our church, in every church. The people who come at 8 on Sunday, those worshipping online at 9.30, those who will be in church at 10.30, the families who are at Children's Church online, and all the gang who will meet for coffee on Zoom, together with all of those who will simply be saying their prayers quietly at home - put all that together, with those who have gone before us in faith and witness, and what do you get? You get something called Great St Mary's. Our spiritual home. And this home is more than a building. This home is all-of-us, being one-in-Christ. That is where my heart is - with all of you, in Him.