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Stanwick Group of Churches

March 2021

MARCH. Move. Adapt. Remember. Choice. Hope.

These are five words from the Education Scotland resilience alphabet for children: each letter providing an opportunity to explore a word linked to resilience.

Pupils of Melsonby Methodist school may be familiar with the concept of ‘fostering resilience’ from the school slogan, but I reckon ‘resilience’ has become a bit of a buzz word during this last year as we have repeatedly been told that resilience is something which children and adults alike need to foster to help get us through this Covid crisis. In fact, a recent article in The Times suggested that the children and young people of this Covid generation could become ‘generation grit’, emerging as the most resilient in decades.

Last summer, as we emerged from the first lockdown, I was sent the ‘Jump back July 2020 resilience calendar’. Three bits of advice which I found particularly helpful were: ‘Be willing to ask for help when you need it today and always’ (Day 1); ‘When things go wrong, be compassionate to yourself’ (Day 12); and ‘Catch yourself over-reacting and take a deep breath’ (Day 28). 

One difficulty we’ve all encountered over this last year has been the physical separation from the people and support groups we’d normally turn to. There are other resilience related words we could substitute into ‘MARCH’ which have to do with this mutual support we all need: e.g. Mothering. Affirmation. Relationships. Community. Help. 

All of these words point to the fact that the word ‘resilience’ doesn’t just apply to individuals but to communities. Schools, churches, community groups, have resilience written into their being and offer mutual support and strength together as well as a commitment to the flourishing of each member.

One community which displayed remarkable resilience in the face of overwhelming challenges was the first-century church. Leaders and preachers were imprisoned daily and members were threatened with violence. Yet the church throughout the land ‘had peace’ and ‘grew in numbers.’ Somehow, despite all the odds, the early Christians maintained such a loving atmosphere, such an authentic appeal of positive acceptance, that no amount of pressure from without disturbed the peace within. There’s much we can learn as we go forward from here and do our best to create church and other communities where people can be themselves, share their grief, ask questions, admit needs and shed tears.

There’s one final resilience word, central to the early church, which, although it’s not quite Easter yet, we can have for our ‘R’ in March: ‘Resurrection.’

In the first century St Paul wrote: ‘We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.’ (2 Corinthians 4 v 8-10 NIV). Here resilience is a response of hope in resurrection which, in our context, we could call ‘practicing resurrection.’ We practice resurrection when we trust not only in the hope of eternal life in the future, but in the here and now, each day looking to the possibilities of new beginnings and hopeful new ways of seeing the world, our lives, relationships, and communities.

On the first Easter morning when Mary Magdalene saw the resurrected Jesus she did not recognise him at first. This was because he had been raised to new life; a life that was both connected to his previous life and yet at the same time was brand new. Resurrection is not about getting our old life back, but about getting a whole new life that transcends, and yet at the same time, honours and includes memories of the old one.

Practicing resurrection means discovering a life that is connected to our past and yet at the same time is brand new, trusting that God is always creating that new life in and around us. I’d like to suggest then that ‘Resurrection’ could be an important resilience word for all of us as we begin to step out of this third lockdown into a world which, whatever happens, will never be quite the same as it was before.

God bless,

Camilla

 


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February 2021
This month’s ‘Rectory Letter’ is from Ian Walton, Churchwarden of Forcett .

January 2021
This January letter is from Rev Camilla. Alternate months will be from other church officers in the benefice.