DAY 38: Saturday 25 April
Good morning everyone
Back in the early part of March as we watched news of the spreading pandemic, we saw images of the people of several Italian cities, by then in total lockdown, serenading each other from their rooftops and balconies. They were lifting the spirits of residents of northern Italy with classical and contemporary music and everyone seemed to join in. A couple of weeks later, the Spanish joined in with their music and cheering from apartment blocks in Madrid followed by united clapping for their hospital workers. I remember thinking how moving that was and how unlikely such a thing would happen in this country. But then on Thursday 26 March the cheering and clapping did come to the UK in the first ‘clap for our carers’ across the country. There have been so many examples of people doing things in support of NHS and other key workers which has undoubtedly helped in bringing neighbourhoods closer together.
Thursday evening I had been to Mere Green to try and pick up some shopping. I had tried yesterday morning but the queue was so long and when I called across to a lady near the front of the line she said had been queuing for over 45 minutes just to get into the store, so I gave up. Anyway, I got what I needed and started the drive home when it came on the radio for everyone to go outside and join in the ‘clap for our carers’ which would be starting in 2 minutes. At that moment I was waiting at Tamworth Road traffic lights which seemed to stay on red for ages. Driving along Whitehouse Common Road I saw scores of people of all generations on their front driveways: one man playing trombone, further along I saw a violin, guitar, trumpet and people drumming on saucepans.
As I got closer to home, I began to wonder how many people would be out on our road as participation has fluctuated over the past 5 weeks, but as I turned into the road, there they were – almost every household out on the street. Yes, it was good to say thanks particularly to NHS workers, but it was also good to share with our neighbours including a family who only moved in a few weeks ago but we’d not met or spoken with.
Leviticus 19:18 Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people but love your neighbour as yourself.
When God dictated his instructions to Moses for how people should live and conduct themselves, the most important was to love God as the highest priority but closely followed by loving one another. This was a sign of how God cares about people and community. God’s rules for peaceably living alongside one other are all under the umbrella of putting God first and not trying to make our own rules for life. After all, God is the Creator so he knows exactly how individuals and society should operate for everyone’s safety and prosperity, so God’s instructions to not steal, cheat, murder, lie, deceive or be unfaithful are all for our good. So much of that is summarised in the words, ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ which are repeated and reinforced by Jesus’s teaching in the four Gospels.
One man wanting to justify his own righteous practices came to Jesus asking the question ‘who is my neighbour’? Jesus’ answer was to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) the summary of which is that by showing compassion to strangers, that is loving your neighbour. Three people passed the injured victim, the first was too religious to get his hands dirty, the second was too busy to be able to stop and help, but the Good Samaritan was a despised foreigner, but he helped the victim, offered his own transport and then even paid for the victim’s accommodation.
So what about us in this world currently struggling with a pandemic? What are we doing? You will be aware of people from the Chapel who do much to help others including shopping and errands, also the very important support through daily phone calls, texts and emails. I am aware that some of you spend much of your day ringing and encouraging others, whether Chapel members or neighbours.
Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Perhaps a suitable Hymnalong for today? > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZIcL40LPlM
Yesterday was history, tomorrow is a mystery
Today is a gift from God, that is why it is called the PRESENT
Everything in God's store is on the bottom shelf,
you need to get on your knees to reach it.
Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have good neighbours. (Confucius)
Today’s email rather shorter than others but hopefully helps us think?