Monday ‘Thought’ from one of our staff team
‘A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.’ (From Isaiah 42:1-9)
It has rapidly become a truism that our generation is living through an epidemic of both disease and anxiety. These events are happening at the time of deepest darkness, and of brightest light, in the Christian year. From the noisy, but ultimately fickle, worship of the Palm Sunday crowds, we yet again begin the descent through the desertion of Maundy Thursday to the darkness and dereliction of Good Friday. From the Temple precincts Christ begins his ‘descent into hell’. And in our imaginations we attempt once again to journey with him.
Perhaps there is a pale shadow of that descent in the growing number of Covid-19 cases. For a time there may have been for some a Palm Sunday-like, superficial, holiday mood. But now the atmosphere has changed. Weeks – perhaps months – of enforced solitude stretch out ahead. Many of us have well-founded fears, either for our own health, or the health of those we love. We feel, perhaps as never before in our generation, a sense of our mortality.
Perhaps uniquely in peacetime we ask ourselves deep questions about the meaning of our lives. What have we lived for up to this point? What will we live for when it is over? Short of having a direct personal brush with death, we cannot be more directly challenged to reassess our lives than we are now. If it is true that the historians will look back and see this epidemic as an era defining event, as individuals we too, who survive, will divide the span of our lives into ‘before’ and ‘after’ Covid -19. This event gives us a chance to sense directly something that we intellectually know but whose force we seldom feel – that we are all mortal, that life is precious, and that what use we make of our allotted span is a matter of overriding importance.
As Christians we confess that God sent us his Son, his Servant, his chosen one, in whom he delighted. By clarity of word and deed he showed us how to live, and calls us to take stock of our lives, and to follow in his footsteps. For those of us from a Christian background, there can be no serious doubt about this. We feel the force of Christ’s call. We know in our hearts that, no matter what has happened in the past, today, in this Holy Week, we ought to hear and respond.
‘A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not put out’. Reading these words and knowing that Christ receives us, let us do what we know we should do – and perhaps have done many times before, but are called to do yet again – reassess our lives, take up our cross, and follow him.
Collect for Monday in Holy Week
whose most dear Son went not up to joy,
but first he suffered pain,
and entered not into glory before he was crucified:
Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of his cross,
may find it none other than the way of life and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.