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The Signs are there...

I don’t know whether you joined us last night at 8pm. We stood at open windows and Clapped the Carers.

Children, young people and adults together. Neighbours, strangers and people on many many streets. As my family stood in our loft room, the sound of applause reverberated across the Thames from Canary Wharf, flowed over the peninsula and could be heard throughout Charlton.

As I stood at our back bedroom window, with my laptop on a Zoom call to 20 other people for us to have a church governance meeting (a PCC) we called back to each other where we could hear clapping from – Westcombe Park, Charlton, East Greenwich, the Peninsula, St George’s, Greenwich Village and beyond.

And when we checked online later – friends from all over the country reported the same – children banging pan lids, adults cheering, the setting off garden fireworks and clapping resounding around housing estates and up and down residential streets. All to say thank you, to show appreciation, to cheer a group more popular than any football team, more loved than any pop group, more needed than any celebrity on a red carpet.

It was a sound that brought tears to those who don’t normally cry, brought lumps to throats to the hardest of hearts and those who haven’t needed the NHS for years. It sensitively silenced those who work for the NHS and humbled even the politicians who couldn’t make it into a party spin.

I am reminded of the words of John 13:34-35: Jesus says ‘I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’

The sound we heard across the rooftops was the sound of love.

That was the sound of a community showing great love for those they don’t even know.

The sound of love flowing out through our land for a common cause – to bless others.

This week many folk have been working hard to keep school open and keep children and young people safe in school. This week, whether they have been part of Team A and in school or whether they have been working from home and keeping Show My Homework well stocked, we need to raise a cheer for those who have done their best in these strange days. This week our love goes out to them and offers a socially distanced pat on the back from at least 2 metres away. As they step away, so the next team step up to the cause and we send them our love too. If you can – pray for them, send them a message of support, send an email of love to those who have been in school this week, text them a pat on the back for a job well done.

And by this, all will know that we are a community of faith gathering to share love and show the signs of a family of folk that feel a bit more like heaven – where everyone is accepted, loved, safe and cared for.

This weekend take time to give thanks for those who work and care and love even when we can’t see them.

This weekend rest in the knowledge of God’s love flowing over us and refilling our reserves.

And next week may our efforts continue to flourish as the world shares stories of faith and strength.

Amen! Well done everyone, enjoy the weekend you good and faithful disciples.