It’s strange. It’s weird. It’s like a bad dream. These are some of the things that people have said to me over the last few days.
Or rather shouted at me from over 2 metres away.There is an air of unreality about how events have unfolded so rapidly from early reports of a strange new illness in China to talk of troops on the streets of Britain and a national lockdown. Indeed, even our language is mutating, with talk of ‘Social distancing’ and ‘superspreaders’ and the latest ‘Covidiot’ – (someone who either ignores public health warnings or irresponsibly hoards goods – try to keep up).
But no more talk of ‘herd immunity’: in fact, some now deny the phrase was ever used. It never happened.
Many of us are experiencing a form of bereavement for a way of life which has temporarily disappeared. A pint in the pub, a trip to a supermarket which doesn’t look like something out of the 1970s USSR, a simple handshake or a hug, all these are gone – at least for now.
Now the challenge for some is how to survive without work. For some, it is how to continue their work in a very different world. For me, it is how to continue to proclaim the love of God in Jesus Christ from over 2 metres away. No more nipping round for a quiet chat with a housebound parishioner – no more communal worship in church.
The churches are empty, the bells silent. The church has never in human history faced such a threat to its very existence, even under state persecutions from Domitian to Stalin. Because above all the church is about bringing people together. As Christians, we have to keep in touch, keep looking out for and praying for so many people made vulnerable by this crisis.
It may be strange and new but there are some things which remain the same and indeed eternal: God’s love for us and his commandment to love one another and him. Feel free to ring me on 01200 423317 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org – please don’t regard any request as too trivial.