Greetings on a beautiful lockdown day -
We are a week into this strange time, a time out of time as we know it. All the routines we enjoy, weekly coffee, church attendance, the freedom to go where we please, to move, shop and travel when and if we wish, has been taken from us. We cannot go to work as usual (most of us), we cannot go to town or to a film; we cannot just pop in to visit those we support, to hug children or enjoy the company of loved ones. There is a sense of isolation from usual groups and networks. In its place, we have a new world of home, in company with others in our bubble. This too, brings its challenges, as we find ourselves spending unaccustomed time together. There is the necessary adjustment to routines and rhythms, and the friction that may arise from prolonged contact in a time of tension.
So here we are, confined to our homes by Jacinda, confined to our mats as my yoga teacher says, or confined to our cell as St Benedict and the monastics would have it. The monastics, the desert mothers and fathers, did not find such containment a bad thing:
“A brother came to Scetis to visit Abba Moses and asked him for a word.
The old man said to him, “Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.”
Sit in your cell, sit in your home, and you will learn all that you need to know. Rather than a sense of imprisonment, then, lockdown might be seen as an opportunity, an opening into something new. If we choose it, this could be a time to learn.
And so, today, an invitation, to spend time quietly being acquainted with yourself, and how this time feels. Make a cup of tea, find a spot in the sun, take your journal, your Bible, a cross or a candle, whatever creates a sacred space for you. Be still there… take a few deep breaths and close your eyes.
Invite Sophia, holy wisdom, to be with you.
Notice what arises inside and hold whatever comes gently.
Welcome equally those things that are delightful and those that are painful.
Pause - be still.
Then when you feel ready, take some notes, record what came up for you - what rises to concern you, what in this time brings you pleasure or joy.
Draw an image, paint it, gather flowers - whatever seems right.
Make these an offering to all that is holy, to God in your midst
Over coming days, find opportunities to take a space apart - to breathe, to reflect, to observe.
May your cell become a university, your home be blessed, and this time of lockdown bring unexpected gifts -
Blessings to you