This has been the most unusual three months of my life. It began with a small news item from China- a new illness has been discovered and it is dangerous.
Quickly the story grew. Details of the virus, Covid-19, were passed round at Government level, without much action. Then it all changed. People were getting sick across Europe, in the USA, and almost everywhere connected to the airline networks. Cruise ships were hit hard. Patients in ICU were dying, or surviving on ventilators. In this country, we became concerned that the under-staffed and under-resourced NHS might collapse under the strain.
Folks started to panic buy, and toilet rolls became the new currency. Lock down. Airlines stopped flying.
International Quarantine was imposed; some horror stories emerged from Italy and so it began. Three months of frozen time… and suddenly doctors/nurses, carers, funeral directors, binmen, cleaners and retail staff became heroes.
No end in sight yet. Risks remain, and some selfish people are putting others at risk by foolish behaviour.
Will it end? Probably, if they can develop an effective vaccine.
In the meantime, our priorities have changed. We have a healthier view about who is important- long may that last! We know the VALUE of some things, not just their price. Change is inevitable: the majority don’t want to “go back to the status quo.” Community has become important again. Perhaps, in the longer term, we might see a better kind of people-centred politician emerge. Churches have tried hard to adapt; and it is likely that some of those adaptations will be permanent.
Underlying all this uncertainty is a message of confidence. God has a purpose in this world, and that affects us all.
My photo was taken early one morning as our ship entered a narrow fjord through banks of fog. Good old radar! The Captain knew where we were, and we glided slowly and majestically through the dark waters: hardly a ripple marked our passage. Then the clouds began to lift and the fog dissipated. We had safe passage. We moored in time for breakfast and watched the scenery take on life.
There is a prayer written on the picture. It is a mixture of hope, uncertainty, and eventual confidence. Even when the way is hidden, and peril surrounds us, we can trust that God will be alongside. However difficult the journey, our destination is securely defended. Parts of the trek will be smooth and straightforward. Part will be like the last three months.
One day we will see our destination. The clouds will lift and we will be at peace: more, we will be filled with joy! Until then: here is advice and exhortation from the Apostle Paul.
Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”