Where flowers bloom, so does hope

Yesterday we had the very sad task of shutting up the Chapel and Faith Spaces. As Jo wrote on the poster we put up: ‘We are very aware that the Chapel and Faith Spaces are places of hospitality, peace, friendship and refuge on campus, and these elements are particularly important in the current uncertain times.  So the Chaplaincy Team will be offering ways to stay in touch and gather virtually over the coming days and weeks.’

You’ll see a new tab on the blog menu: Chaplaincy online! Here you will find information about the ways you can be welcomed into our virtual space: opportunities for prayer and stillness, and other ways to be in touch and keep connected. That’s going to be very important over the coming weeks. Do have a look.

Last Thursday some of us gathered for Prayer and Share – a chance to reflect together on all that is happening, and how it is affecting us. There were some heartfelt concerns and prayers shared. We dropped glass beads into a bowl to remember that all of this – however hard – is held within God’s love.

On the table we had some beautiful Spring flowers (kindly provided by FCH grounds!) and we remembered that Thursday was the Spring Equinox – when the day and the night are the same length. Now the days are growing longer, and the trees and hedges are coming into leaf. The seasons are moving on – and that feels like a sign of hope. We will not always be in this sad and difficult season. There will be a return to living our lives fully, and meeting together again in person. We will not be the same, and there will be real loss – but there will also be new possibilities in whatever the future holds.

Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of the US President Lyndon Johnson, worked tirelessly to safeguard the beauty of nature, saying: ‘Where flowers bloom, so does hope’. So I’m going to plant a sunflower seed today. And I’m going to water it and nurture it. I’ll post a picture of it as it grows (I hope it does!) and that can be a sign of hope. If you have a seed to sow – you could try birdseed, or even a seed from your muesli – do the same, and send me the photos.

May you, and all those you love and care for, be held in the deep embrace of God’s love, and may we each be a sign of that love in these times and – like our growing seeds – a living symbol of hope.

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