The New Room is sharing a Friday reflection each week during the time that we are closed. Even though we cannot currently join together for our usual Friday lunchtime Communion service in the chapel, we hope that these short reflections will act as a point of spiritual focus, enabling a moment of quiet thought and prayer.
This week’s reflection is from one of our chaplains, Rev. Josette Crane, who writes:
Nehemiah 4:19 And I said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people, ‘The work is great and widely spread out, and we are separated far from one another on the wall.
I have been finding Nehemiah a useful resource in the Bible to reflect upon as we think about the New Room reopening again. The verse above seems strangely appropriate as we try to match the needs of social distancing with the mission and work of the chapel, cafe, shop, museum, venue rooms and library, each having its own challenges. Our work is extensive and spread out over a number of areas and we will need to be separated from each other as we resume our activities. In Nehemiah’s time, the temple had been rebuilt and we have rebuilt the New Room in recent years. However, the walls around the city have been destroyed by fire and so Nehemiah receives the call to return to Jerusalem to supervise the repairs. We are considering our calling to return to the New Room after a time of devastation. There are some interesting thoughts to ponder in chapters 1 and 2. Nehemiah hears the news and he mourns, just as we have been grieving in different ways. He still praises God first and confesses the failings of society in his prayer for mercy and also for success. He is then in chapter 2 given the opportunity to return. The prayer below is based on Nehemiah and I invite you to pray for the process of reopening our beautiful site in the city.
Lord God you are great and wonderful, you keep your promises and you are a God of love. We are experiencing a traumatic time of disease and loss. We grieve for all that has been lost, for people we miss, for ways of life we have treasured, for livelihoods destroyed and hopes and plans that have had to be abandoned. Forgive us when we have wandered from the way of Jesus. Hear the prayers of those who serve at The New Room. Grant us mercy and give success to your servants today and in the days ahead, as we make and seek to faithfully enact difficult decisions and remade plans. God put into hearts and minds what you wish us to do for the New Room. Amen.
Revd Josette Crane Chaplain to the New Room