I have never been a person that has enjoyed being terrified.  That does present problems when I am trying to find a film to watch.  ‘Friday Fright Night’ would not be appealing to me and I steer clear of anything that looks as though it might be frightening.  Interestingly, and against all that I have just said, one of my favourite films is ‘Psycho’.  You see, I know what is going to happen, and it is in black and white, and it is tense as opposed to scary, and anyway I think the music and the style of it are amazing.  Having said that I don’t really like shower curtains!


Enough to send a shiver down the spine!

As I was thinking about what to blog about this week when life is so strange and a bit monotonous, there was a report on the radio about a survey that had been conducted into people’s attitudes to this lock-down.  What was being highlighted in the reports was the level of fear that is around among people and, in particular, the fear of emerging from the lock-down and re-entering something that might have vestiges of normality.  Though lock-down is hard to cope with at least most of us are safe in our homes; going outside, meeting people is all of a sudden scary.

Hearing that resonated with something of what I am feeling at the moment.  My excursions from the Deanery are for these reasons – to go to the shops, especially the Borough Market which, thankfully, remains open (thanks to the traders) and our local M&S Simply Food (thanks to the staff there); to go to the Cathedral offices which I do twice a week to ‘do’ the post; and finally, to go for a proper walk, which is my version of exercise.  That is it.  I haven’t been on public transport since 15 March, my Freedom Pass is locked away! To be honest I feel quite safe and I am safely in my routine, online services, Zoom meetings, finish at 5 for the Downing Street briefing and watch ‘Gavin & Stacey’ (rationed) before I go to bed.

So I can understand the fear of what might happen when the PM says to us, ‘OK you can go out now’ or words to that effect.  How will I feel getting on the Tube, on a bus; how would I feel as a member of a real rather than a virtual congregation?  Am I becoming a little bit agoraphobic, a little bit afraid?  Is something beginning to take root within me that I need to address now?

It is a good time to ponder these things.  The twin messages of the Easter encounters with the risen Jesus are ‘Peace be with you’ and ‘Do not be afraid’.  I, we, need to hear this message.  The locked-down disciples needed to hear the message.  In the end they needed to be driven by wind and flame from their room and out into the world.  It would be a scary place for the fledgling church, not everyone was pleased to see them on the streets, to hear the Good News on the streets – but there was where God wanted, needed them to be, out there, setting their fears to one side and being the church.

As I learnt for my history ) Level, in his inaugural address in 1933 President Franklin D Roosevelt said

‘There is nothing to fear but fear itself’

Fear stifles things, but Jesus sets us free from fear.

Lord Jesus,
may fear not overwhelm us
but your life embolden us
for today,
for tomorrow.

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