May 2020

Mum can I have a snack? ‘Mum, I’m stuck’, ‘Mum, the cat’s knocked over my drink.’

With the children at home all the time it can be difficult to get any uninterrupted space or time.  However the difficulties in combining home working and home schooling pale into insignificance compared with the way in which our whole way of life has been interrupted, from not being able to see family and friends, through to cancelled holidays, cancelled exams, postponed weddings, and postponed medical appointments, through to job losses, and worries over paying the rent. 

In our village communities there is interruption to our usual programme of social and fundraising events and it is particularly sad that many of the special local and national plans to celebrate the 75th anniversary since VE day cannot go ahead on 8th May. Life is hard for us now, but we cannot ever forget the lives turned upside down and the families devastated by the 2nd world war. We cannot ever forget the enormous sacrifices made and the courage, determination and community spirit people showed.

In years to come when we look back at 2020 we will also remember the people who have sacrificed their lives to save others, we will remember the half million who signed up to help the NHS, and we will remember the love, care and generosity in all of our communities, a caring which includes a willingness to be available to each other, a willingness to be interrupted.

Part of living the Christian life, or living a loving life of any faith or none, is about being willing to be interrupted. In Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, the Samaritan was the one person who was willing to have his day interrupted in order to stop and help the man who had been robbed, beaten, and left for dead on the side of the road. The Gospels as a whole could be seen as ‘chronicles of interruption’. Jesus is teaching, and someone breaks the roof open above him and lowers a man down through the hole. He’s interrupted, but healing bursts forth from it. Jesus is walking to the next village, when someone grabs hold of him, and whether that person is a beggar or a pleading father or a chronically ill woman, he stops to minister to their need. One interruption after the next, but the kingdom is loosed through it.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes in ‘Life Together’: ‘We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and cancelling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions. We may pass them by, preoccupied with our more important tasks.’

Perhaps in this strange time we could each learn to experience interruption differently? Perhaps we could learn to see from a different perspective, where productivity is less about tightly controlling ourselves and our calendars, but more about unleashing ourselves in love towards others? Perhaps we could see interruption as an opportunity to listen to God and care as God cares for each person in every moment?

And what of the larger scale interruption, worry and devastation which the coronavirus pandemic is causing? Can we take the opportunity to listen to God, to listen to nature, to listen to the voices of science and wisdom in all this? Perhaps this interruption is an opportunity to work towards greater international cooperation? Perhaps it is an opportunity to heed the warnings of nature that humanity is placing too many pressures on the natural world and a chance to change our habits in ways that could make a longer-term contribution to climate protection? Perhaps this interruption is an opportunity for a green industrial revolution which will protect our planet and our economy for our children?

Keep safe and God bless,


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