Today I was hoping to write you a thought that would avoid the topic of COVID, pandemics, isolations and all the endless stuff that comes with it. But as I am writing this, it is Monday afternoon and I’m here again, waiting for another Boris bulletin. Will he let us out on 2nd Dec? Will we get to see our families over Christmas? Can we go out for dinner? Can we shake hands yet? Can we hug yet? Do we still have to cross the road to avoid each other? Do we still have to cover our faces and become almost unrecognisable, feeling the hot air from our breath every couple of seconds, wishing we’d never eaten that extra piece of garlic bread last night? Do you know what I did the other week? I actually found myself naturally pulling away from the people I live with, just in case I got too close! How scary is that! Social distancing is almost becoming a normal, conditioned behaviour.
Love your neighbour as yourself….as long as you stay within a safe distance, cover your face and turn your head away if you’ve forgotten your mask.
Feed the hungry… but only when you’ve sanitised your hands first, disinfected all your implements/produce/packets and done a full risk assessment first.
Set free those who are oppressed….but make sure you only do it in numbers of 6 or less, and make sure you stay at least 1 metre away from each other while you do it, and if you touch them you’ll need to sanitise your hands again.
When Jesus went on mission he took nothing with him. Mission in 2020 requires a backpack with extra pockets to carry all the PPE and disinfectant we might need!
Sometimes I wonder how long it will take to undo these behaviours. It takes all my strength not to jump in the car and go to my parent’s house for the weekend. Or give my friends a huge hug when we meet go for a socially distanced walk. I think if I never hear the phrase “socially distanced” again after all this is over, I will be one happy woman! Being socially distanced feels contrary to my naturally pastoral soul. To cross the road to avoid someone who you’ve never met and know nothing about feels so alien, so wrong. But the very reason why this behaviour seems to be getting engrained in me is the essence of why we do this. Every time I avoid someone, hold back a hug, step away from a loved one, cover my face or turn my head away, I’m attempting to protect someone. I’m doing the only thing I can do to try and prevent illness in that person. I guess in a funny kind of way, what would have been classed as rudeness in 2019 is life-saving in 2020. Maybe once this is all over, we will be able to look back and be proud of the fact that we did all we could, even though it was really hard. Nothing is perfect and we could never guarantee 100% safety, but we did what we could to reduce the risk as much as possible.
As you can see, my Thought for the Week is more like my musings and ponderings. I don’t have any inspiration for you today, or theological arguments, or mystical statements of God’s power. What God is saying to me today is “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Whether you are weary of isolating, weary of the constant repetition of COVID conversations, or just plain weary of life, God says rest. Rest with me. Rest in whichever way you can rest best. Rest in God’s soul. Rest on a walk, looking up at the sky, looking out over the fields, looking down from the hills and peaks. Rest in your home, with warmth, with comfort, with a hot cup of tea and a biscuit. Rest in the bath, rest in your bed, rest on the sofa, rest on the floor making playdough worms and pizzas, rest in the car if that’s your thing. The point is, let go. And trust me, I need telling as much as everyone else. Rev Tracey Morris