I hope you are well. As time goes on, and as I write this, I can’t see the current crisis ending soon, so I thought I’d reflect and share with you my thoughts in this very strange time. I wonder what your response is to the crisis. Is it ‘I can’t wait to get back to normal’? I imagine that this is many people’s response because – although we hear of wars, natural disasters and pandemics across the world – we tend to think that a national crisis of this nature will never affect us (or, at least I did, before the last few weeks). We are all touched by difficulties in our personal lives whether that be relationship breakdowns, loss of jobs, loss of loved ones or something else, but it is not often that we are touched together by a crisis such as this. So many people have lost their jobs, so many have lost their lives and this is only going to get worse.
What was your response? Was it to get to the shops and bulk buy your toilet roll? Or was it to contact family or friends to see how they were and ask if there was anything you could do for them?
This has made me think about how much our society has been influenced by a belief in self-reliance (or ‘believing in yourself’ as many films would have it). For as long as I can remember we have been relatively comfortable in the UK: we are one of the richest nations in the world, we have a good NHS and a good welfare system. We give to the food bank but how many of us have ever had need of a food bank? Whenever these things happen it is always the most vulnerable that are affected the worst and many of us tend to think that it couldn’t happen to us.
But now we are faced with a situation where it could happen to us and our human frailty is all too obvious – relying on yourself has been exposed as a failure. My prayer is that our community will begin to realise in this time that we need one another, that we need God, that we are nothing without him. When this is over I want us all to get together for a very special service - thanking God for being with us through the crisis and for reminding us of our need for him – which we can invite all of our family and friends to.
Let us have hope, faith and love; let’s remember what is most important to us. Take the opportunity to get closer to God and to listen to what he wants to say to us. When it is over, let’s not go back to ‘normal’: let’s be changed by this, thinking less of ourselves and more of God.
If you are able please still save your 40p a day for the food bank.. they are in desperate need of the money and I’ll make sure they get it as soon as possible. If you would like me to get money to them now please let me know how much you are donating and I’ll send them a bank transfer. I can get the money from you once we get back to seeing each other again.
“Perfect love drives out fear” 1 John 4:18
We need to trust in the Lord, in the power of his grace to bring good out of even the most painful situation, and to remember that this crisis will end, and that life will go on. It is from confidence in Christ that will flow the spirit of tenderness, care and solidarity which we rely on to serve Him as he desires (Fr Damien Howard SJ)