“My Chains fell off, ….”

St. Michael’s Vicarage, Alnwick
June 2021

Dear People of Alnwick,

As I write this letter the Prime Minister has just officially informed the nation that we can proceed to the next stage on the roadmap to recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic – freeing us up to begin to put back together the pieces of our lives. This is thanks, in no small measure, to the amazing rollout of the vaccination programme and, before we do anything else, we should give profound thanks for our National Health Service – still the envy of the world.

However slowly we begin our individual routes back to a less restrictive way of being there is so much to be thankful for. We are being freed up to socialise in a limited way once again, to hug – and be hugged, perhaps even to stay with friends and family if they don’t live too far away.

I am reminded of the line in the hymn “my chains fell off, my heart was free …”

And, at the rate time seems to be flying by, it won’t be too long until the next date in June and further restrictions are lifted. Further chains can fall off and, hopefully, much anxiety can be cast aside.

Being freed up to be who we are is critical to our general wellbeing – and the world is beginning to realise this. We now have Mental Health Awareness Week – a concept that was simply unheard of just a short while ago. Increasingly, people in the public eye (those who seem to have ‘everything’) are prepared to share with others that their seemingly enviable lives have often been fraught with problems and difficulties. These brave souls have released themselves from the veneer of perfection and admitted that they are scarred and vulnerable.

In his book ‘Simply Free’ Fr. Gerald O’Mahony says: “I’m free to grow because I am free to be less than perfect”.

As we make our way into our new unrestricted, post-pandemic life and allow our chains to fall off let’s not try too hard to strive for perfection. Rather, let us aim to grow – in contentment, in faith, in hope and in love.

None of these areas of growth require perfection – simply a willingness to allow God to work in us and for us to strive to be the best we can.

In the book of the prophet Micah (Chapter 6, verse 8) we read: “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

If we can do this and, at the same time, acknowledge that we are less than perfect we may know a freedom equal – or greater – than the falling off of chains.

     With every blessing,


This entry was posted in Letters. Bookmark the permalink.