Sadly, to report, even Saint Anthony has been confounded by my lost or stolen mobile phone; but, as I am discovering in today’s 1st Reading from Chapter 3 of the Book of Ecclesiastes, within the context of a time for every purpose under heaven, there is a time also for searching and a time for losing, and I have to accept now that the time for searching is over, and that this is a time for losing, and that there is some purpose to the losing under heaven. I have now procured a new mobile phone, retaining the same number, but everything else was wiped, so I have to start building up all my contacts again, and start from scratch for everything else that was on the phone. It’s a bit of a pain, but it has to be done.
I think one purpose under heaven was to try and teach me a very important lesson. I rush around far too much doing far too many things. Like Martha of Bethany, the sister of Mary and Lazarus, who was concerned about so many things, and sometimes forgot the essential things, things that require a certain amount of stillness, and hush, and pause in the day to dayness of life. At the beginning of lockdown, I was enjoying that stillness, and hush, and pause to the usual hustle and bustle; but now, all that has gone, and I find that my mind, my body, and even my spirit, are being pulled in too many directions and that I am not very focussed on anything. I should have learned my lesson from a few weeks ago when I lost a rather distinctive, blue and white speckled spectacle case, containing a pair of spectacles that I had wanted to try and get repaired for my brother. I knew the spectacles weren’t that important as I had arranged for new spectacles for him anyway, and he had an old pair that were keeping him going in the meantime. But, the mystery of where I had put this spectacle case consumed myself, and others, as well as Saint Anthony, for days on end. We searched high and low, but to no avail. I thought I was losing my marbles. To this day, it still hasn’t been found, and I can only assume it has disappeared down the same black hole as my mobile phone. I didn’t learn the lesson then of slowing down, but hopefully I will now.
Moving on, I can report that last Sunday I celebrated another Sacrament that had been paused during lockdown. There had already been many funerals, whether here in the church, or at gravesides, or at crematoriums; I had celebrated one wedding and there is another wedding coming soon; but last Sunday I had the first celebration of Baptism, delighting to welcome two children from the one family into the community of the church. The Baptisms had originally been scheduled for last May, but obviously had to be postponed, but the mother of the children kept watching for the First Minister to give the green light and then immediately made contact to rearrange. It was a very happy event and all the necessary protocols were observed meticulously. In the weeks to come, presuming no greater restrictions are imposed, we hope also to celebrate the First Holy Communions for our local Primary Schools, also postponed from last May; and then the Confirmations of the children who were scheduled to be confirmed last March, on the very day that the churches were closed, which was on the Feast of St. Joseph. These children have now moved on to Secondary School, so there will be the task now of contacting and preparing them, and then organizing the service to confer the fullness of the Holy Spirit on their young lives.
Out in Bishopbriggs, myself and Father Antony keep holding the fort as best we can. The inevitable happened in that Father Gareth went down to Wales to support his mum through some medical procedures. He intended to be away for a week, but now there is a lockdown in Merthyr Tydfil, and God knows when he will be back this time. Father Justinian is still doing well. We appreciate your continual expressions of concern and support, and please be assured that we remember you always in our prayers and are thankful for your goodness towards us. So, as always: protect yourselves and your loved ones, and protect Christ in your lives.