Whilst praying that we look beyond our own preoccupations during lockdown, it also seems good to reflect that, practically speaking, for us at home in our everyday lives, lockdown is a Laudato Si' moment!
We are being made aware of the interconnectedness of all things and all people.
We are living simply. We are enjoying clean air. We are taking a break from fossil fuel use. More of us are taking to cycling. More people are cooking from scratch and eking out food resources. Children and adults are being creative with whatever we have in our homes. We are not indulging in unsustainable fast fashion. We are not dashing across the world to find leisure but appreciating our own environment in all its fresh detail and in the changing seasons.
Amidst all the suffering, fear, anxieties, these are moments to be grateful for. Could we pray in gratitude for this opportunity to take pause. We - or those of us in the fortunate position of having a green space and a lack of pressure - have some time to appreciate our immediate environment more, to care more about each other within our communities, to be satisfied with having enough.
With this prayer inevitably come the following ones: to pray for persistence to take new lockdown habits into our future lives and to pray for courage to influence our politicians, local as well as national, to change what will be the 'normal' of the future. Because if we are truly convinced by Laudato Si', we will need to persuade those who shape our society that our streets now free of congestion should be reconfigured for bikes and pedestrians, that the people we clap on our doorsteps need more than applause but a valued place in our society, and that we are ready to accept measures that will protect Creation in all its interconnectedness.
Our parish in Abingdon has been held together during lockdown by our livestreamed worship. We are encouraging online participation in Laudato Si' week, 16-24 May. When church communities begin to get back together physically, our focus will be on celebrating Creationtide in September, renewing our commitment to Living Simply and to our Covenant with the Poor.
Angela Waterhouse is one of the Live Simply team at Our Lady & St Edmund, Abingdon, which has been co-ordinating the Laudato Si' endeavour in the parish since its first campaign to become a Live Simply parish in 2016.
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