Reflection for Sea Sunday
July sees the annual celebration of Sea Sunday and it may seem strange that we’ll be marking this at St Melangell’s when we’re inland. However, recent difficulties with the supply chain have highlighted the importance of international trade and its availability or otherwise – two container ships with bunting and Platinum Jubilee memorabilia amongst their cargoes weren’t able to dock until 5th June, after the official celebrations had ended. The challenges of communication between different nations were also highlighted when some official souvenirs which had been made in China had to be scrapped because the slogan marked the Platinum Jubbly – shades of Del Boy!
During the pandemic, coronavirus spread very quickly amongst passengers on cruise ships, which had to be quarantined in port and caused great concern for those aboard and their families. This is just one of the issues also faced by crews on container ships, who often have to work in difficult and hazardous conditions to bring goods that are often taken for granted. During the last year and its financial challenges for so many, more crews have been abandoned by their employers than ever before and some are still being denied the right to leave their ships for even a short break away from the relentless noise and pressure onboard. When they are also separated for long periods from their families, stress and poorer mental health is being reported more frequently and the chaplains at the various ports are needed more than ever.
The theme of Sea Sunday this year is ‘Calming the storm at home, in port and at sea’ and focuses on the story in St Matthew’s Gospel of Jesus calming the storm when the disciples were terrified. Storms can be global, whether warfare in Ukraine, immense tsunamis or the Covid pandemic and they can also be personal as individuals face unemployment, sickness or bereavement. Sometimes, they can develop with very little warning.
Many people are currently facing unsettled circumstances with the cost of living crisis, the ongoing warfare in Ukraine, food insecurity and petrol costs making changes to daily life as they make fewer journeys, put on layers of clothing rather than the heating and cut back on food and supplies. However, fewer journeys may bring benefits for environmental pollution and the cutback economy may yet enable some to stay afloat with heating not being needed during the summer weather. But, as the storm clouds gather and turbulent times lie ahead, others are already facing very challenging conditions.
Choppy waters lie ahead, not least after the storms of this last week in Parliament, and good neighbours are also needed more than ever to calm things down and help find safe passage through whatever lies ahead. This is not a storm in a tea cup but a challenge to the way of life we so often take for granted. The pandemic enabled so many to pull together and it can be done again – can’t it?
With my prayers; pob bendith,