One of the most moving images coming out of that extraordinary funeral service of HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was the solitary figure of Her Majesty the Queen. The Covid-19 restrictions have touched all of us in different ways, none has been left unscared or unaffected. We are very fortunate in our village to live off the beaten track, with such a caring community around us and with local facilities near at hand. But we are still under the same rules as everybody else, as are the Royal Family.
We have asked the question before, but now, as we slowly come out of lockdown, the question is even more pertinent: what have we learnt from this last year and will we live any differently as a result?
An anthropologist showed a game to the children of an African tribe.
He placed a basket of delicious fruits near a tree trunk and told them that the first child to reach the tree would get the basket. When he gave them the start signal, he was surprised that they were walking together, holding hands until they reached the tree and shared the fruit!
When he asked them why they did that, when every one of them could have got the basket for themselves, they answered with astonishment, “Ubuntu”. “How can one of us be happy while the rest are miserable?” Ubuntu in their community means, “I am because we are”.
In the Western world, this kind of attitude is harder to find. At least it was, until the year of the pandemic. In countless situations across our nation and the world, people have been rising to the occasion and offering practical help to their neighbour.
Most religions use what is known as “The Golden Rule”: “Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you.” Jesus was one of the few spiritual leaders who turned the Golden Rule on its head, reversing the meaning from a negative, “Do not do….” To a positive, “Do to others what you would have them do for you.”
I find it interesting that there seems to be a God-shaped hole in our lives, and this gives us something unique as humans made in the image of God. The ability to know right from wrong, to know the difference between love and hatred and to gravitate towards living out The Golden Rule, especially when those around us are in need of some tender, loving care.
We re-open our church for services on Pentecost Sunday, May 23rd at 6.00pm.
May you know God’s rich blessing in these days,