.... said Jesus to the disciples as he sent them out into the world, (Luke 9).
I woke up this morning with a strong sense that we too are being reminded, at the moment, to take nothing for our journeys. As the COVID crisis continues, it feels more and more as if we are being forced to rely on intangible things, like love, and prayer, and trust, and relationship.
I am hearing stories increasingly from people who are beginning to experience real hardship, and I am also hearing often from people who are finding the longevity of the crisis very hard. The hoped for upturns are still far around the corner, and the fear of more infections is very great, and so we are thrown back on our own resources and the resources of our faith, family and friends, as we try to work out how to be in this new world.
By marvellous synergy, this month's Column Inches is about journeying. It was planned before lockdown, when we were expecting to be on our shared journey out of St John's and into the world around us.
The theme has been retained, but the content changed. There are articles about journeying and pilgrimage, from Paul, Deborah and many others - a new poem by Sean, who has joined the 9 a.m. congregation during lockdown - a fascinating article on John Bunyan, and some great howlers at the end to make you laugh. Do read it and forward it to your friends - life at St John's in all its richness.
And, on a more serious note, I would be happy to share a coffee, in real life or virtually, with anyone who would like any kind of support. Or anyone who might simply want to offload a little. Or is aware of anyone else who might want some help. On this long road, we need our companions as much as we need prayer and love.
The ways of supporting one another at St John's are still going strong - the Coffee Morning is still meeting, every day, as is Morning Prayer, and the picnic seems to be appreciated by those who come, on Sundays.
The disciples must have been frightened when they were sent out by Jesus, not knowing what was ahead of them. I hope that they found, wherever their journeys took them, that they met supportive companions and found moments of quietness to pray.
It is through journeying that we are transformed. As our ability to enjoy physical journeys is curtailed, my prayer is that your spiritual journeys may be enriched, even in the midst of challenges.
Do not be afraid, says Isaiah, for I have redeemed you: I have called you by your name, you are mine.
With my love, and prayers, and do read Column Inches.