Comment by Harborough churches: Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn

Every week, the Harborough churches write for the Harborough Mail. This week, it is the turn of Rev James Pickersgill, Team Vicar in the Harborough Anglican Team

Monday, 25th January 2021, 3:22 pm
Updated Monday, 25th January 2021, 3:26 pm
Rev James Pickersgill, Team Vicar in the Harborough Anglican Team

Viewpoint by Rev James Pickersgill, Team Vicar in the Harborough Anglican Team

Over the past few weeks, many wonderful things have happened for us to stop, give thanks to God for, and to celebrate wholeheartedly.

For example, three families we are close to have all had new babies, joyfully welcoming new life into the world. The news that 11 Chinese miners were rescued after two weeks of being trapped underground was wonderful.

Whatever our political persuasion, many of us were inspired by the Inauguration of the new President of the United States last week. Lady Gaga singing the National Anthem and Kamala Harris and Joe Biden taking their oaths, were incredible and historic moments to watch.

And of course, last weekend here in Market Harborough, the much-anticipated snow that has been coming and going recently finally settled enough for children (and plenty of adults from what I saw) to get some rare and different outdoor fun! It was fabulous to be out enjoying the simplicity and beauty of snow-covered fields and trees.

Of course, all these good news stories come against the backdrop of the on-going pandemic that is continuing to wreak pain and havoc in people’s lives. I have seen first-hand, and shared in, people’s pain as friends and families are isolated and have lost loved ones. Being unable to grieve, and to celebrate, the life of a dear relative or friend with only a handful of people during lockdown has added to the pain of bereaved families.

This ebb and flow of life, of good and painful news, is summarised in Paul’s letter to the Romans: "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn". It reminds us that joy and sorrow, elation and pain, and life and death, have always and will always co-exist.

It also reminds us that we cannot – or perhaps should not – remain indifferent to others’ good or bad experiences. When news is good, we can be pleased for them and maybe tell them so. When news is not good, we can pause and feel for them, and maybe pray for them or send a note of support. It’s what community is all about.

And when everything seems a bit bleak, we can look back at the good things we have enjoyed – the little moments as well as the big milestones. Christians have the hope of God’s lasting presence and the newness of life which Jesus offers even in the midst of

pain; he can bring good news out of bad.

As we look ahead into uncertainty, the words of Amanda Gorman, the US National Youth Poet Laureate, strike a chord of hope:

“And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know, to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all.”

Rev James Pickersgill is Team Vicar in the Harborough Anglican Team