Christ is Risen. Alleluia!
It’s Friday in Easter week and we have made it through another week of Lockdown and the uncertainty of the future is growing daily. This morning when I awoke I read the Archbishop’s Blog https://archbishop.anglicanchurchsa.org/2020/04/archbishops-eastertide-news-reflections_16.html and it was speaking about all the things that I had on my mind, even down to referring to the Benedictine Rule of work, prayer and play; which was on my mind and was the subject of our Lenten Retreat this year. You can read the full article on our website.
But he and I wish to speak today about your Mental health. When I phoned one of the parishioners this week he said” spiritually I am fine, but emotionally I’m struggling.”
It is easy for us to get into this space when we know that God is in control and that all will work out in the end, but we are not sure how we are going to endure what lies between the problem and the solution.
I return, often to the scene in the book of Daniel, where Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego are thrown into the fiery furnace and Nebuchadnezzar sees the Angel in with them. We often jump straight to the part where they are drawn out and do not stop to think about the time that they were in the flames. The resurrection appearances that we read of in this season are reminders of dealing with our emotional state of mind, and not just saying “ah” Jesus is arisen all will be well. In the Resurrection appearances, we find apostles “locked up in fear” (John 20:19), we find doubt expressed by Thomas (John 20:25) (listen or read Rev Peta May’s great Sunday Sermon on this (get it online http://www.stmaryskingsburgh.co.za/video-sermons-services/). We find men out fishing and catching nothing (John 21:3) just three examples of people dealing with life. Experiencing emotions and though they believed, they struggled. And in each scene Jesus comes and comforts and uplifts them.
Do not run from how you feel today, allow God to bring you peace right there, in this time when we lack diversions, we cannot overlook how we feel, we cannot run from it, we have to face it. Emotions are God given “prods” to get us to turn to Him and to receive healing and peace.
St Paul tells St Timothy “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Tim 4: 8)
Godliness involves being honest with yourself and with God, it involves seeking to understand God and yourself better. Allow yourself to engage with your fear, anger, resentment, lost dreams and disappointments by acknowledging them in prayer. Suppressed feelings are what lead to depression. “Do not be anxious about anything” said St Paul (Phil 4:6a) and by this he didn’t mean don’t get anxious, don’t feel emotions: he meant don’t stay anxious, he meant that when you do get anxious, acknowledge it and pray about it – “ but in everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be known to God.’(Phil 4 6b).
This Sunday we will have a Eucharist Service on ZOOM, for those who can attend, and we will post Sunday Sermons as widely as possible. I encourage you to spend time in worship and seeking God this Sunday, in whatever way your context allows. But know this – you are being upheld in prayer and “with the Angles and the saints (that’s you) we say “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord! God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your Glory, hosanna in the highest!
Be assured of my prayers!