While some churches have already re-opened for public worship, most are still considering how best, and when, to do so. The need to navigate our way through the challenges involved and to properly implement the published guidelines is causing a degree of anxiety not seen since the beginning of lockdown. Rightly so, there are all kinds of questions to be answered and systems to be put in place to ensure as much as possible that those who visit our buildings are kept safe.
The Moderator of the Church of Scotland has said “I am enormously grateful to all those who at national, regional and local levels have worked so hard to get us to this point.”
Martin Fair continues “But while we order supplies of sanitising agents and face coverings, measure our sanctuaries to calculate allowable numbers, and work out how best to handle ‘in church’ worship alongside digital content, we mustn’t miss the opportunity that is now before us to ask the crucial questions of what it is we’re going back to do and how best are we going to do it? Will it be business as usual or might this be an opportunity for us to invite a fresh blowing of the wind of the Spirit to refresh and reinvigorate us and to ‘revive us for this hour?’
It’s with that in mind that I have decided to offer A Week of Prayer for Church and Country, believing that as we head into such a critical period we should be ‘on our knees’ before the One who has promised to lead us. This week will run from Monday 17 to Saturday 22 August.
This may well be a critical moment in the life of our Church – a paradigm-shifting moment. And if that’s true for the Church then it may be equally true for the country, not least as COVID-related economic realities begin to bite.
At 8am each morning a pre-recorded reflection will go live on the Church of Scotland website and on Facebook. These will include contemplative music, Scripture readings, a brief ‘thought for the day’, a prayer and blessing. Additionally there will be a suggested prayer activity that you can choose to take up at some point during the day. Each of these activities has been designed for all ages but certainly with children and families in mind.
What the week is really about, is creating space for the Church to come together from all ‘airts and pairts,’ to still ourselves and to listen for what the Spirit might be saying to us in these days (Revelation 3:22).
As we prepare for the coming chapters, let us begin from a position of humility, being on our knees before the One who will both feed us and lead us.
With every blessing,
Rt Revd Dr W Martin Fair
General Assembly of the Church of Scotland