A silver lining

Cyclones, tsunamis, floods, droughts, fires and plagues! They have always been there but now, with worldwide communications, we know immediately what is happening where. 

Mostly we can say, ‘it affects them’ and we contribute our resources and our prayers. But with this latest plague – the corona virus – it affects us, whereever we are. It cannot be contained locally despite the best efforts of the most advanced nations in Asia, Europe and North America.   In fact these are the continents most affected. They are the places most travelled to and from.

Globalisation has brought many benefits but we are realising that it has also brought many costs. America gets much attention in the media and it is noticeable that this virus has really knocked them off course.  Their president has his eyes on his ‘approval ratings’ but he also has his eyes on the stock markets. This virus is making them plunge.  This is awkward for him and distracting from his re-election bid. It is exposing the vulnerability of a country that preens itself on being ‘great’. They cannot even provide health care for their citizens or sick pay.

So Corona – the word means ‘crown’ – is a shock to the system of the most powerful nation.  In the long run it might help them become a more caring society.  Politicians, nearly everywhere, are urging people to ‘think of others’. Don’t visit your old folk in homes.  You may carry the virus unknowingly. Wash your hands lest, in greeting others or doing anything for others, you may transmit the virus. Don’t, as we do, put your hand to your mouth or nose when you sneeze or cough.  Your hand may become a carrier. And we are told many such ‘dos’ and ‘donts’ so as to show our care for others.

I do not think I have heard politicians speak so emphatically about ‘caring for others’ before this plague, or pandemic, hit us.  This is something we would like to see become contagious! Every culture must have its equivalent to the English proverb, ‘every cloud has a silver lining’. It conveys the fact that women and men in every age have proved their worth by struggling against obstacles in their path.

The Corona virus is, to my thinking, the first truly global challenge in history – even more intrusive to our lives than climate change.  Suddenly the daily bulletins coming out of an office in Geneva, Switzerland, which most of us have never heard of, is top of the news every day. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia, Secretary General of the World Health Organisation, is the most listened to person on the planet. This has to be a ‘silver lining’.

15 March 2020                    Lent Sunday 3 A

Exodus 17:3-7                     Romans 5:1…8                   John 4:5-42

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