I was so warmed to read of the greetings that the Rev’d Richard Teal, President of the Methodist Conference and Carolyn Lawrence, our Vice- President have sent to faith leaders at the time of Diwali. It is good for us to be reminded at a time when everything seems to be focussed on ‘having a normal Christmas’ that it is not just we as Christians but Jews, Muslims, Hindus and those of other faiths who are called on to make sacrifices for the good of others. So may we travel through Advent humbly and, for all the sacrifice, follow the example of others who have worshipped virtually, mixed less freely, loved more fully during their religious festivals. Let us do this even if it means keeping our churches closed until secular closed venues, say theatres, are able to open again safely.
Prof Whitty (Chief Medical Officer for England) said today (July 31st 2020) “The idea that we can open up everything and keep the virus under control is clearly wrong,”. We have probably gone as far as we can in opening up Society. It makes sense. We have reduced the constraints with which we have learnt to live. The virus is now reaching a growing number of people. This suggests that the release of lockdown is enabling this. So we need to lockdown harder than we are doing ‘at present’, but all the Government is suggesting is not freeing us up as quickly ‘at the moment’.
In the Church many are still trying to return to ‘normal’ – to things as they were. Instead, in society and in the church, we need to recognise that we are in this for the long run and to adapt to a different situation for this ‘long run’.
That already requires changes to our behaviour and practices that have never before been needed or envisaged. So what are we going to do, and what are we going to stop doing? And love of our neighbour as well as preservation of ourselves, demands that we act quickly. Churches are not very good at swift change. Sociologically they are predicated on maintaining and promulgating the institution rather than on loving the individual.
Beautiful music for a time of lockdown – soothing – YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSyzRn2Jmuo&mc_cid=4e79d8733c&mc_eid=74ccc3627b