Rev David Stoter.

Isolation to some degree is going to be with us for some time. Isolation can be creative or destructive, nurturing or stifling, liberating or confining. How it affects us depends on our circumstances and response to it. We can become angry, resentful, critical and bitter or see it as an opportunity to use the enforced extra time to reflect, to look at ourselves, our lives, our priorities. We can look with fresh eyes at ourselves, our families, our community, our nation and the wonderful world we live in.

It is amazing what we can learn by looking around us with open minds. I was preparing onions for a stew when I was struck by the thought that this simple vegetable is a structure which can teach us something about ourselves. At its base I saw the remains of its root structure which drew from the earth the water it needs to grow and at the other end the remains of its leaves which drew in the growing properties of light. The body of the onion is made up of many layers, the softest in the centre and the toughest at the surface. It made me think of the many layers that make up the complexity of who I am and who you are as human beings.

At the core is the sensitive, vulnerable part which is known only by God and nurtured by God. Then comes the next, still very vulnerable layer only known to those closest to us and nurtured by that precious God given gift of love. Then comes a layer of those who nurture us spiritually, friends and our worshipping community reinforced by the wider church. The next layer could be seen as those we work with and socialise with who bring a different level of nurture. The next layer the nation and culture we have grown up in and live in. The next layer the wonderful nature of the world around us and brought to us by incrediblephotography. Then come the outer protective layers (which of course are inedible). Some of these layers are necessary for protection and self preservation. Some are destructive when we become judgemental, prejudiced and ungrateful This extra time we have could be used to draw deeply in the water and nurturing light of God. We can count the many blessings we have and be grateful. Grateful for our wonderful NHS and it's personnel, for the carers in nursing homes and the community who are going way beyond the extra mile and not forgetting the army of essential workers.

Last but by no means least "the peace and love of God which passes all understanding "in its depth, complexity and eternity

Revt. David Stoter