You realise things are getting bad when you’re looking forward to watching a repeat episode of Midsummer Murders in the evening. Although, things haven’t got so bad as to start watching classic episodes of Coronation Street. Yet!
Holy Trinity Brompton reports a massive uptake of people attending their online Alpha courses. There are reportedly four times more people watching online acts of worship than attended church prior to lockdown. On the downside; Alcoholics Anonymous reports a huge increase in attendees at their weekly meetings. On the Friday morning news, there was a report of the police breaking up a wedding celebration of 400 people in London. News reports indicate there is an increasing number of people not watching any daily news.
Lockdown is affecting everyone; in various ways. Some good, some not so good, some bad. And it’s not over yet. Vaccines offer some hope: the light at the end of a long tunnel. So why are there groups on social media trying to persuade people not to have the vaccine? Are they genuinely afraid the vaccine is harmful, or just plain mischievous? One thing we do not need at the moment is scaremongering.
I’m in trouble. I’ve clearly done something wrong which is going to have serious consequences for Kathryn and me. BT, TV Licensing, and Amazon all contact me on a weekly basis (sometimes more than once) to inform me my accounts are going to be closed because of unpaid bills. (Kathryn promises me she isn’t squandering our life savings at M&S online.) If you get such calls, they too are scams; put the phone down. Do not press any buttons.
Recently I went to withdraw a sum of cash from the bank. The cashier, joined by the manager, insisted on satisfying themselves I wasn’t being scammed before they handed over my money. An elderly woman was approached by a man claiming he had come to give her the vaccine; he charged her £160. He then had the brazen effrontery to go back after some weeks to give her the second vaccine and again, charged her £160.
But, what of the deputy head of a primary school who walks five miles a day taking meals to the children qualifying for free school meals. Or the neighbours doing the shopping for elderly or isolating members of their community. Or the builder who set up a Facebook group to provide groceries for those in need and then found 9,000 people joining the group to support the work. Or the Bangladeshi community providing thousands of free meals for NHS care home staff. There are many more encouraging examples of how people respond positively to assist others.
It seems in any crisis events bring out the worst and the best in people. Why are we so complicated?
The Psalmist wrote: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” that does not only refer to our physical bodies but also our mind, intellect, emotions; everything that makes you you and me me. Human beings are marvellous: even the cranky, bad-tempered, awkward ones. Made in the image of God we have the potential to do good, to serve, to care, to overcome.
Lockdown is affecting British society in many ways. There was a call for a national day of prayer on January 22nd; that’s now passed but we can still pray and continue to pray that the good coming out of lockdown will continue. Those who are searching for something and signing on to Alpha and attending online services will continue to seek and take part as the crisis eases. We should pray for those who have lost loved ones from COVID that they will have support, love, and care as they grieve.
We should pray, and continue to pray that the light of Christ will be seen in our land.
Give us eyes to see,
Ears to hear,
Hearts that are open
To all in fear, despair & need
That we may be as the Good Samaritan