You may feel a bit fed up with the restrictions placed on us by the Coronavirus even though you fully understand and support the reasons for them. I guess many of us would put high on our list the longing to be able to go back to Church again. That’s certainly true for me as I very much miss our corporate worship and after-service natters.
Like many of you I’ve discovered that all this free time begins to pall after a few weeks. Much of it for me has been taken up with various kinds of exercise:
physical, with an hour’s walk every day;
mental, with much reading, and the ‘Times’ crossword and su doku most days;
and spiritual, as I fall back on the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer, and Compline.
What can we learn from what we hope will be this once-in-a-lifetime experience? I’d like to offer some suggestions.
I believe that God must be involved somewhere in Covid-19, not as some would have us believe as the one who seeks to punish humankind for its sins, but as the ultimate source and inspiration of all the amazing sacrifices that so many people have made and are making on behalf of us all.
We may have come to realise that there are things which we may have forgotten over the course of our lives, things to which we have come back in recent weeks; a foreign language, a neglected musical instrument, an equally neglected garden, an old hobby.
With extra time on our hands we may have got back into the habit of prayer. In the process we will have found plenty of scope for holding before God not only our own family and friends but also the sick and suffering and those who are caring for them with such diligence.
We can all do our bit to share the burdens of both friends and strangers, especially if we are of an age which means that we ourselves have been served by others during the crisis, including some people we didn’t know before.
I didn’t intend this to become a sermon but my conscience wouldn’t allow me to finish without reminding readers that beyond all that follows where we stand at the present time, there comes eventually what we call eternity. Now eternity isn’t just more of the same for ever and ever. No, eternity is an ever-deepening relationship with God, starting in this life and moving into a realm untouched by space and time. Bring it on, I say (but not too quickly).
The Very Reverend David Shearlock. Partner Priest in the Beaminster Area Team Ministry