First of all, a gentle reminder  – St Mary’s is fully closed. You can leave food for the North Bristol Foodbank in the porch and if you do – thank you.

Another reminder – have you telephoned an elderly or vulnerable person recently? Such calls are always greatly appreciated. It shows people they are not on their own and not forgotten This is particularly important as we reach the peak period of deaths from Covid 19.

Last night’s broadcast by HM The Queen will be greatly welcomed. Her Majesty said that our symbol of hope is the children’s rainbows – paintings you see everywhere in windows. She said that this challenge, Covid 19, is different and produces an instinctive passion to heal and that we must remain united and resolute. And she didn’t look 93 either!

Also broadcast yesterday was St Mary’s Palm Sunday service featuring, amongst others, a recovering Debbie Harries, children from the Harrod & Moss families, intercessions from Mike & Pauline and a folk duo – Sue (on fiddle) and Dave (mind you the guitar looked dodgy).

There are some people who question the wisdom of closing places of worship. One wonders how the nation felt in the early 20th century when Spanish Flu decimated populations across the globe. There was no internet or mobile phones, devices which allow everybody to communicate instantly across the country, across the world, in those days, but did people feel that basic instinct to pray in a church?  “If all the swords in England were pointed against my head, your threats would not move me”. So said Thomas Becket, a priest who gave his life in a church to save the church. The freedom to worship is ingrained in many people and shows itself most powerfully when under threat. But think of packed mosques with worshippers kneeling cheek to jowl and of our own churches, on Mothering Sunday perhaps, with people shaking hands, kissing even, would not such environments be the perfect transmission points for this dreadful virus? So even if traditional services were banned in churches, mosques and synagogues, large numbers would still seek solace in a place of worship were it to be opened just for private prayer. And then…….