The Bishop of London, The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, has written this letter to be circulated and read for children across the Diocese.
I write a lot of letters. I write to vicars, to other bishops, in fact to all kinds of grown-ups but I also wanted to write to you as you are an important part of our churches and I am your Bishop too.
This is a funny time to be writing to you, in the middle of a time when we are all staying at home and London has changed so much. I live in the very middle of London and when I walk my dog it’s odd to see St Paul’s Cathedral with no one sat on the steps, and Bracken is missing the chance to try and steal the food they leave behind! I wonder how your life has changed? I’m sure you miss being able to play outside and see your friends in real life, not just on a screen.
I’m sure you are finding it a little frightening as well; I know I am, and it’s ok to be frightened sometimes. It’s nearly Easter time and I can’t help but think about how suddenly life changed for Jesus’ friends in that one week. On Palm Sunday Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem as a hero to cheers and His friends must have thought everything was going amazingly well but by Friday Jesus was dead and they were hiding away and frightened. Suddenly everything had changed. Of course, we know the end of the story and that on Easter Sunday some brave women went to care for Jesus’ body and were the first to see that Jesus was alive. Soon all of Jesus’ friends discovered something new; Jesus was always with them wherever they were.
This did not mean that Jesus’ friends stopped being scared or that frightening things stopped happening to them, but they did find knowing that Jesus was always with them meant they could keep going and do some amazing things. I hope that through this time knowing Jesus is with us too would help us to keep going and help us do some amazing things, even if amazing might mean not winding up your brother or remembering to clear away your bowl!
One thing we can all do is pray. Before I was a bishop I was a nurse and understand how hard our doctors and nurses are working and I hope you will join me in praying for them. We can pray that God will help them, that God will give them the wisdom to know what to do and that God will protect them.
Finally, I want you to know that I am praying for you, I’m praying that God will be with you through this time. Every morning I go to a special place in my house where I pray, and I think of you then as I pray for all the children and young people in our churches and schools. If you ask your parent to email me just your first name, I will add it to my prayers by putting your name in a pot I keep in that room.
I look forward to seeing you in our churches when this time is over.
+Sarah, Bishop of London