As this pandemic sweeps around the entire world, as (I suspect) no other virus has ever done; something strange appears to be happening. Not everywhere, and (unfortunately) not all people.
But mostly people are accepting the restrictions placed on them by governments trying to protect people and limit the impact of the virus on their populations.
Normally if we were to be told to isolate ourselves, stay at home and apart; people would resist.
To be told: No work; No school; No sport; No theatre; No religious gatherings; No weddings, No funerals; almost no shopping; would usually invite protest. (Just think of the annual debate about shopping on Good Friday). Why? It is because it is understood to be for the good of all, but especially for the most vulnerable in society.
And this is not just in one country, but increasingly all around the globe – Asia, Europe, The Americas, The Pacific, and Africa.
But not only are people doing what they are asked and staying home; they are reaching out, in many ways to each other.
Using technology to contact and connect with each other.
Using their skills and talents to entertain their neighbours, (think Italian singers and musicians).
Thanking doctors, nurses and other essential workers who have to keep working to treat the ill, and keep everyone safe well and fed.
People are finding new ways to work and study.
We are finding new ways share in prayer, even when we cannot physically gather.
People are finding ways to exercise the body at home.
We are keeping occupied and exercising the brain.
We are being creative within out limited spaces.
People are taking the time to reflect on what is important in life.
People are aware that this is different. This is unprecedented.
So we reflect, meditate and contemplate on what is happening; where will it lead and how might it change the world. As we look forward with hope for when this is over and we return to normal life, maybe (and some think probably) taking some changes with us – ways of working, for example.
Also, we hopefully take renewed ideas and attitudes as to what’s important.
Lent 2020 is indeed different from most years. But maybe it is more authentic for it is as we reflect on what is happening, where we are and where we are headed, and reach out and care about those most in need, we are drawn more into Christ’s journey to the cross and resurrection.
28 March 2020