Milverton, Somerset

From the Vicarage in March

From the M5 in appalling weather heading for The Vicarage…

It is 13 February 2024 and I am musing about community Spirit whilst travelling home after visiting my little brother in his nursing home and talking with my sister-in-law about the wonderful love and support she receives from the care home staff, her neighbours in her village and the special friends surrounding her. At 5pm the shaken newsreader on Radio 2 announced the breaking news of Steve Wright’s sudden death, and radio presenter Sarah Cox then had to deal with a complete change of mood on her radio show along with her own grief, and later in the show, as tributes to Steve Wright poured in she thanked everyone and said, “We are one big family here at BBC Radio we are a community sharing our grief and our happy memories with love and care for each other”.

In times of celebration and times of sorrow our villages pull together and support each other. When the first refugees arrived from Ukraine our communities reached out to them and welcomed them into our homes and lives. Now many of those refugees are in their own homes, fully integrated into our schools, colleges, churches and workplaces, and are part of our communities of support and care.

We are so very fortunate to be part of community life when we hear of so many people and places where people feel isolated, alone, afraid and unknown.

As we travel through Lent to Easter we hear, once again, the stories of Jesus teaching, ministering, and caring for all those he met. In all of his ministry what kept Jesus strong and focused on God’s work were his growing crowd of friends, disciples and supporters. These people sustained, supported and cared for Jesus, not just in the good times, but in the toughest times as Jesus faces opposition, accusations, crucifixion and, despite the fear they felt at losing their Messiah, they regrouped and greeted Jesus at his Easter resurrection. A true community of love and care, a community of hope.

I hope and pray that we can all celebrate being loved, cared for, supported and encouraged by those who form our communities of hope.