Bishop of Norwich's message of hope to church leaders
The Bishop of Norwich has written to ecumenical church leaders across Norfolk assuring them of his prayers, encouraging them to be there for the vulnerable and that there is 'a light that shines in the darkness'.
“I write to assure you and your community of my prayers over the coming weeks and months,” said Bishop Graham Usher. “We are each learning to be the Church in new ways, but continuing to be a people of hope, a people of prayer, and a people of loving kindness and service.
“I have been deeply moved by the ways in which communities across the county have found imaginative and creative ways to worship the Living Lord, often reaching far more people through live-streaming and other resources than we do on a usual Sunday morning. There are also incredible examples of people caring for their neighbours and new local community organising. I thank God for that.
“Yet there are many who are still in need, and our calling as Christians is to be particularly there for the vulnerable. Many of us are concerned about individuals, or about the corporate health of charities and the financial income to support the ministry entrusted to us. In the coming weeks it is very likely that we will be increasingly ministering to the ill and bereaved,” said Bishop Graham.
“To those facing unbelievable personal difficulties, my prayer is that they will hear God whisper that there is ‘a light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.’
“To those simply over wrought with daily pressures, work or lack of work, my prayer is that they will hear Jesus whisper ‘come to me, and I will give you rest.’
“To the lonely and those who feel frightened, my prayer is that they will hear the Holy Spirit whisper ‘nothing shall separate you from the love of God.’
“Perhaps we will come to see this time, in all of its pain and challenge, as a sabbath rest for our souls, for our frenetic lives, and for the health of our planet.”
Bishop Graham referred to the medieval mystic and writer Mother Julian of Norwich who herself lived through the Black Death in Norwich, self-isolating in her cell with the noise of the street going on around her. “Her writing keeps bringing me consolation, especially her vision that ‘In his love God wraps us and holds us. He enfolds us for love and will never let us go.
“I pray that this will be true for you and this letter comes with and my grateful thanks for our partnership in the Gospel.”
Pictured above is the Rt Rev Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich.