Holidays are special and looked forward to, and August is holiday time – but for many not in the same way this year.
Holidays: we associate holidays with going away and maybe beaches or travel. The roots of the word are – of course – Holy Day – and they were the saints’ days each year which was celebrated in the towns and villages, and for some of which there was time off work and even a feast/festival. Life is better when we have special markers, and COVID has flattened many of these this year.
This week we have remembered the Feast of the Transfiguration (Aug 6th), that moment in Jesus’ life when he was transfigured before his disciples, his clothes became dazzling white and his face shone with glory. It is a breakthrough moment in the context of teaching and healing and travelling.
It was a momentary glimpse for the disciples of the true nature of Jesus, the Son of God, the Glorious One, who had taken human form, lived with us and who would die on the Cross, an outcast and rejected, the one who would then be raised, opening the way, showing the truth of New Life.
For us, as we navigate more restrictions (again), and wonder what will change next, it is difficult to relax or plan, and when we have to plan we know it might all change again. Holidays away may not be happening, children and families are missing out on hope-for breaks. Things get cancelled, sometimes at short notice. Not only have the markers gone but the uncertainty, like the brambles, is covering the ground.
In this ongoing uncertainty – which can be depressing and dispiriting – can we make some markers for ourselves to celebrate particular days? And we should pray that we catch glimpses, reminders, of the glory of God, of His promises, of the knowledge of His presence with us. This may be in a time of quiet prayer, or when listening to a great hymn, reading a psalm or seeing a great piece of art which reveals something of who God is. We can and should pray for moments where we glimpse the true glory of God, as it were where we see the sun shining brightly through the clouds.
And then those days where we do glimpse the glory truly become holidays, holy days.
Please do join us on Sunday, but we ask that everyone who is able to, wears a face-covering for the whole time they are in the building, in accordance with the new guidelines which will be mandatory from Aug 8th. We must all do our part to ensure that the risks of any transmission are reduced to the lowest level we can achieve, for the sake of us all, but especially the more vulnerable. We pray for and work for a time when this risk has abated and people can gather freely again.
Rev’d Peter Reiss: 7th Aug 2020