Sunday reflection

Trooping the colour

“Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names……”. 

St Matthew 10:1, NIV.

“That was a fitting event. It’s the least that we could do and indeed the most that we could do under the conditions” – Colonel Hugh Bodington.

The military ceremony held at Windsor Castle yesterday for the Queen’s official birthday was very different from the traditional Trooping the Colour but was still an impressive feat with social distancing throughout. It brought particular challenges for the soldiers and musicians taking part – imagine having to carry out precise manoeuvres before the Queen in warm sunshine and a thick uniform whilst playing a cornet, keeping two metres apart, wearing a busby, listening for the words of command given by those in authority and being televised! The ceremony was adapted, new manoeuvres developed and the troops rehearsed in just two weeks so it was a remarkable feat of achievement at a time of national crisis – as the Garrison Sergeant Major said, “We could not deliver the usual scale but could nonetheless deliver exceptional quality.”

That quality was delivered through rapid response, adaptability, discipline and hard work as those taking part had previously been carrying out Covid-19 tests to release NHS staff for nursing duties. What a contrast for them to go from dealing closely with potentially infected people and swabs in car parks to the magnificent surroundings of Windsor Castle – what a change and what a challenge, too!

Many of us are also having to face challenges in whatever circumstances we find ourselves and with changing guidance from those who exercise medical, scientific,  governmental and economic authority during these uncertain times. That’s also reflected in Jesus’ words to his disciples in the Gospel reading for today, the first Sunday after Trinity: he calls his followers to him and delegates authority to them to bring about healing. The authority is directed towards driving out evil spirits – which would be termed mental health issues today – and to heal sickness including dis-ease. At a time when many are not at ease with what is happening due to the pandemic and social unrest, and with concerns emerging about mental health, relationship issues, emotional and physical abuse during the lockdown, Jesus’ words and the authority he gives to his followers are as relevant today as then. 

The disciples are named before being sent out and the appreciation shown by the media and the public in naming medical staff, key workers and all those engaged in the battle with Coronavirus reminds us that the work of healing is being carried out by so many today. Who would be named on your personal list of those bringing healing and help today, like those first disciples, and who is receiving it? Is there anything you could contribute, such as praying the diocesan prayer for this week, below? St David suggested doing the little things well and that includes prayer, which is possible anywhere, anytime and for anyone. If quality rather than scale has to be considered in the face of dis-ease and disunity, even small things could make a healing difference so that Love is shared to create, “A wonderful, reassuring moment that some things really do carry on”. 

Robert Hardman, commentator at Windsor Castle.
Perhaps that is the least we could do and indeed the most we could do under the conditions…… 

Healing God, the frailty of our mortal nature has become real to us this year with clarity and sorrow. Grant us wisdom as we rebuild our lives, that we may learn lessons of gentleness and care, and better reflect your love for all your people and for the beautiful and fragile world around us. Amen.
Canon Carol Wardman 
With my prayers,