The Boy in the Bubble

These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all.

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These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all.

Words from Paul Simon’s, The Boy in the Bubble from his Graceland album. The lyrics to this – and the whole album – are a commentary on Simon’s experience of Apartheid South Africa. Simon creates a tension between hope and despair, between “days of miracle and wonder” and “the way that camera follows us in slo-mo” like it always does when reporting on tragedy. I feel we are caught in a similar bubble during these days of Covid-19, trapped between hope and despair. I must admit, I have felt like I am the boy in the bubble over the last two or three weeks! I am very grateful to Alyosn, Mary and Clare for standing in for me.


I would, however, like to direct us to the place called hope. this word fits well in the Christian lectionary and, although despair also has a place, we have the desire, the capability and the adaptability as Christians to scribe our thoughts about hope in a way that makes sense, that gives life and provides a witness to the world. “These are the days of miracle and wonder” when you hear of people literally going the extra mile for others. Captain Tom Morgan the now 100 year old former army officer walked 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden raising (to date) £18 million for the NHS. My sister is in the process of making up 35 sets of scrubs for her local Covid-19 unity. A local Formula One team has designed and produced ventilators for the NHS in record time (excuse pun). The Cherwell School’s Design & Technology department is making face masks using its own 3-D printer. Many local people are contributing their delivery slots and shopping to others who are in greater need. The miracles and wonders continue to shine yet the camera continues to follow us in slo-mo.


What has amazed me about this period is how people have used that camera for good not ill. Clare and Dave Leal have spent most of this week putting together a video for this Sunday. It is a video of a service of the Word and is accompanied by images, various voices and familiar resurrection texts. Thank you to all involved in this project. We are all learning and the curve is steep but we hope to communicate God’s love through the likes of YouTube and Zoom. Please find the service by clicking on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25QNFL-72v4   You can also find Mary Gurr’s commentary on the Gospel text on our website alongside the readings – thank you, Mary!

Our Sunday Club has quite a few children hoping to go forward to receive their First Communion after the lockdown finishes, It will be a great celebration when we all get together and see how the Church continues to bless God’s children. In order for them to prepare for this, I have set some work. The first session is called “What is Church?” I ask, is the church a place, a building? Is the church a people? I come to the conclusion that Church can be anywhere and everywhere, as long as Jesus and his people are present. 

Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines - Or, how I flew from London to Paris in 25 hours and 11 minutes Irina Demick, Eric Sykes, Stuart Whitman, Ephemera, Jazz, Childhood, Hollywood, Memories, London

The Church has had to become more adaptable and flexible than it has been used to in more comfortable times. I watched the film, Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines with the boys this week and was reminded of the dexterity and versatility of the early aviators, not to mention their bravery! With material strapped across flimsy wood held together by piano wire, these flying machines were a sight to behold. But there was something about the ambition to fly, to record the longest flight, to become pioneers of the sky which speaks to me about “the days of miracle and wonder” and brings us back to the Christian response to Covid-19. Versatility, bravery, pioneering effort – these are the charisms of Christ’s fellowship. I hope that we can all serve God’s world by bursting the bubble and allowing love to fly!

LOCAL NEWS

Ursula Amey RIP We commend to God’s greater light, Ursula Amey. We have prayed for Ursula for many years and she has been cared for beautifully at St Luke’s. She died this week. In a note to family and friends I said, “Ursula has remained in our intercessions and, as such, was always part of our eucharist community.” May she rest in peace.

The Quarterly – While it is still intended to produce the next issue of the Quarterly, because of ‘lockdown’ it may have to be in an electronic form. However, when current restrictions are lifted it will be possible to produce a hard copy for the records and for those who might like it. Contributions for the next issue, including book reviews, will therefore be welcomed, preferably by e-mail, by any of the editors – Ann Stedman (ann.stedman@btinternet.com), Michael Daniell (michaeldaniell51@gmail.com) and John Harding (john.harding22@gmail.com). The deadline for submission is Sunday 17 May. If possible, your contribution should not exceed 600 words. Many thanks from the Editors

Faith at Home Roots produce some great learning sheets. I hope you can access this one for Sunday:https://www.rootsontheweb.com/media/20316/19-apr-2020-childrens-sheet.pdf

Diocesan Live streaming If you play our StM&AA video at another time, you can join others who will be attending virtual church here: https://www.oxford.anglican.org/coronavirus-covid-19/livestream/

Don’t forget to check out our website for news and updates – www.stmichaels-summertown.org.uk

Author: Gavin Knight

The Revd Gavin Knight has been the Vicar of St Michael & All Angels, Summertown in the Oxford Diocese since September 2011. After serving his title at St Alphege, Solihull, Gavin became parish priest of St Andrew's Fulham Fields in London. He moved to Wales in 2005 becoming Chaplain to Monmouth School. He is married to Jo, a clinical psychologist, and they have three sons.