Covid-19 pandemic is reshaping our lives in so many different ways. Enforced isolation and the pressures of lock-down have raised many questions and made a lot of people think more deeply about the value and purpose of life. There is a ‘perfect storm’ of information, false news, and encouraging words bombarding us every day.
Here are a few extracts and quotes that made me think about God’s purpose for our lives during the current pandemic:
The year without a Summer
A blizzard comes on very quickly and it’s quite intense. The only real option is to “shelter in place,” to stay home. But it also passes relatively quickly, the snow stops falling, and you go outside… But winter is different. We need to consider that we haven’t just experienced a blizzard, but the onset of winter. Winter is longer and harder than a blizzard. You can go out, but not for long. You have to wear protective clothing. A lot of activities that are normal at other times are not possible in winter. And maybe most of all, you’re always thinking about and aware of the possibility of another storm. You’re checking the forecast, having to plan around that…
The year 1816 was called “the year without a summer.” A volcanic eruption in 1815, in what is now Indonesia, caused winter-like conditions, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, the entire following year. There were frosts in every month of summer in North America and Europe. Just as the “year without a summer” started with a volcano but ended up with massive agricultural and economic effects, so our current pandemic may lead to massive effects long after the pandemic itself is addressed, effects that will take us a long time to recover from. (Andy Crouch: https://andy-crouch.com/extras/the_year_without_a_summer)
The opposite of faith is not doubt, it is fear.
Fear is more widespread and contagious than the virus itself…’ (Idea magazine (Evangelical Alliance) May/June 2020 https://www.eauk.org/news-and-views/idea)
Thought for the Day: Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields. April 27th 2020
God’s future is made out of our past. Nothing is wasted. The mistakes we’ve made become moments of learning and growth. Our disappointments and regrets turn into wisdom and insight. Our failures are no longer the end of the story but the beginning of a better story. Strangers and enemies become comrades and companions. It’s what the Bible calls God’s kingdom.
The Bible isn’t interested in going back to normal. Setback, dejection and despair provoke us to see what was wrong in what we’d become accustomed to – and realise there’s no going back. We may feel bewildered and powerless, but we’ll never get a better chance to consider how we can make a future bigger than the past. If all we aspire to in the face of months of lockdown is to go back to normal, we’ll have squandered a once-in-a-century invitation to imagine something richer, truer and deeper than normal ever was.
After the war people didn’t aspire to go back to the hungry thirties. They wanted to build a land fit for heroes to live in. This isn’t a time for looking back. It’s for imagining the future: and starting to live that future now.
(Rev. Sam Wells: https://yourneighbour.org/news/samwells2)
Trust is the greatest resource in human society. Without trust, we relate as competitors and in a mindset of scarcity. With trust, we discover creative pathways that unlock abundance we could never have found on our own. All worthwhile human work and life takes place under an umbrella of trust or, to use the stronger biblical word, covenant — the shelter of mutual respect and love that forms a kind of canopy protecting us from the wild and dangerous world, making room for great acts of sacrifice and beauty.
So, if you can: Take time to think… and remember:
‘God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.’
2 Timothy 1:7