This weekend would have been the Flower Festival; “would have been” is a phrase we are using too often to explain what is not happening this summer. “We would have been going to ..”, “we would have had ..”

This weekend we do celebrate St Anne, the mother of Mary, a reminder that we are all part of intergenerational families, part of the community through the years, and in Christian language, part of the communion of saints.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards” – the famous words of the Danish thinker, Kierkegaard.

The sentence I think changes its impact if put the other way round. The change of emphasis is towards living rather than understanding: “Life must be lived forwards but can only be understood backwards”.

Whichever way round we take the sentence, life requires us to face what is in front of us, using the wisdom, the experience, the knowledge gained from what has been. Life is about living and experience and emotions and feelings, so there will be regrets and sadness and loss, sometimes quite devastating loss; Life is also about hope and possibility, and the loss of all hope, despair, is a terrible thing.

Some people are more resilient than others, or maybe we are all resilient but in different ways. One joy of being back together to pray and worship will be that we can support each other, encourage one another, travel with one another, and so strengthen each other and even carry one another when the going has got too tough.

We pray that our services in our churches across our Parish and Team will offer that added element, but we hope the online support also keeps people connected, hopeful and encouraged to continue to live forwards.

May we be those sorts of people who do share hope, love and encouragement to others;
May we know the continued presence and guiding of God’s Spirit as we live each day.