To fulfill the law of Christ: prayer for the Church in London.
Posted on the 23rd Mar 2020 in the category Announcements
To fulfill the law of Christ
To the clergy and people of the See of Ebbsfleet
From the Bishop
We hear the word ‘communion’ often in the church’s life. It’s a word with many layers of meaning. First it means the unity that we each have in the Spirit with Christ. Then, as a result, unity with one another in Christ, a life while is mutually recognizable, finally, by unity with the faith, worship and life of the apostles, most especially the Eucharist.
Communion carries with it the obligation, strongly present in the New Testament, that Christians should ‘Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way … fulfill the law of Christ.’ (Gal 6.2). Each one makes himself or herself a servant of the others, ‘washing the feet’ of his or her brothers and sisters in response to the Lord’s ‘new law’, his new commandment of love (cf. John 13:1-35). That mutuality is what is represented in the icon shown here – in which a young monk carries an old monk on his back. I want to ask you to exercise that ‘mutual burden-bearing’ in a particular way: in your prayers for the Church in London, because London is ahead of the rest of the country in seeing a steep rise in the number of those falling sick
Therefore, last evening the Bishops of London, Southwark, Rochester and Chelmsford communicated their regretful but necessary decision to close all Anglican churches across the London boroughs, even for private and personal prayer (though the clergy may continue to enter them to pray and to celebrate the church’s liturgy). See https://www.london.anglican.org/articles/closure-of-church-buildings/ The Dean and Chapter of Westminster has decided likewise.
This decision couldn’t be more serious and was taken because of the need, as the bishops put it, to ‘demonstrate how important physical distancing is in saving lives’. Of course it affects Anglicans, but let us not (ever) forget our fellow Christians. London is an environment in which there is the widest possible range of other Christian communities, which minister collectively to a huge international range of the capital’s poorest and most vulnerable.
This will inevitably be a huge blow to the parishes of The Society under the Bishops of Fulham and Richborough, and their clergy who have been taking comfort and sense of purpose from ministering to those who come in through their church’s doors, and making available a safe and peaceful place, where Christ himself may minister through prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Pray for them; pray for all fellow Anglicans; and – in the same breath – pray for all other Christians in London, and those who have sought shelter, consolation and faith in the capital’s churches.
Yours, in the Lord
Almighty Father, who taught us through your Son Jesus Christ that unless we love one another we cannot fulfil your law: of your goodness and by your grace give us a true concern for the needs of our brothers and sisters in the faith in their witness and service, that in sharing one another’s burdens we may fulfil your law.; through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.