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Posts Tagged ‘pandemic’

It’s been a struggle to write this blog, this Lent, this #lentowrimo. Last Lent the pandemic had only just started, lockdown was looming, and then began. There were things to speculate about – what was going to happen, how the world was going to cope. There were new things to negotiate – social distancing, online church, finding a source of flour, developing a sourdough starter, advanced baking, homeschool protocols.

This Lent, it’s all old and wearying. We’ve had more than enough of homeschool. We’re fed up of not hugging people. I’ve not made sourdough for months, despite having enormous bags of flour stashed away. It’s been winter for months and months, and I still have toothache.

I had things to talk about last year. But I’m struggling this time around. Life is mostly all old hat.

An Old Hat (Photo by Yulia Rozanova on Pexels.com)

The more interesting things I’m doing are non-bloggable, as often seems to happen in life. I don’t write about everything, you’ll be shocked and amazed to hear (not). One of the dangers of our online lives is the way we curate them. We only tell part of the story – to protect ourselves or to shield others, to present ourselves as we want to be seen. But as we’ve lived so much more of our lives online of late, I’ve seen more of that part telling going on. I’ve done it myself. I’m more than the sum of my blogging and my Twitter feed. I am truthful online. But I don’t tell everyone everything. It’s only a glimpse of Vicarage life. So there are other stories here, but I’m sorry to say that they are staying here.

So tonight’s post is just me saying nothing much, because there’s nothing much that I can say from my small quiet life online and in the Vicarage. Thank you for listening in to me saying almost nothing though. Maybe I’ll find something a bit new hat tomorrow.

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Something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is complexity. The complexity of our society and economy has been made clear as the government has made decisions during the pandemic which have had unforeseen consequences. They’ve not had enough information about every single person and their situation as they’ve tried to make provision for people in lockdown. So there have been changed plans and new initiatives as things have become clearer. The individual histories and situations of each person in a nation is almost impossible to imagine and to grasp. A very interesting thread on Twitter from Robert Colvile, director of the Centre for Policy Studies, outlined how pandemic policies backed up by databases – information – have been far more successful than those without.

Life is complicated! (Pexels.com)

I’m not in government (thankfully!) but I am involved with some other complex and difficult situations. And I can see that decisions, or pronouncements about decisions, are often made without enough information, and certainly without all the information. It’s a blessing of aging, of experiencing difficulties and struggles as well as joy, that you gain a much bigger grasp of complexity. That you learn to see the politics, the relationships and the history behind things. I find that I often feel overwhelmed as I get a glimpse of complexity, especially where there are decisions to be made.

But that has also given me a bigger vision of the greatness of the LORD, who sees everything from the beginning to the end, who has all the information, in all its complexity. He is never overwhelmed, he grasps all the politics, the relationships and the history. Praise God for his understanding of all that he has made.

The Lord looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.

Psalm 33:13-15

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This coronavirus crisis feels a bit like election season did – there’s just so much news. Every half an hour something new is cancelled. There are graphs all over the internet giving a fresh perspective and interesting and learned experts giving opinions which help you feel like you might get a grip on what’s happening. It’s a big global event with huge repercussions and it’s also a close to home personal one, with some disruption and changes in view for our family.

I’m staying with my mum at the moment and we’re discussing various planned holidays and family events over the next few months and wondering which ones, if any, will go ahead. The Queen’s university (I know! How can she be that old?!) has suspended face to face lectures, and she thinks the exams next week might be cancelled. (So she rather regrets staying up very late last night to study the genetics of viruses for the biology test. Although, who knows if it might come in handy some time soon?) I get an email from the boys’ schools every day with an update of cancelled events, and I send messages to the family Whatsapp group with handwashing reminders.

The Church of England is updating its guidance to churches frequently – no cup at communion, no full immersion baptisms, standing for communion and other procedures to help us to protect people from infection. Behind the scenes clergy and laity are energetically debating how to serve and guard their flocks and parishes and bring God’s grace into a frequently overwhelming situation. My timelines are awash with random pundits asking what the government or the church are up to and making alternative pronouncements. It’s confusing and stressful, and there’s so little I can do about it all.

So I’ve made some decisions about what to pay attention to, although the drama of the frequent announcements will probably keep distracting me. But I’m going to read some things by proper scientists, and I’m going to keep on washing my hands often and for 20 seconds (whilst praying the Lord’s Prayer, which fits). I’m going to try and read things written by Christians who lived through plagues previously, and say some of their prayers. I’m going to pray about how I can serve those who will be in need because of this crisis, especially in our parish. And I’m going to pray the Church of England’s Collect provided to be prayed In the Time of any Common Plague of Sickness. Pray with me?

In the time of any common Plague of Sickness. O ALMIGHTY God, who in thy wrath didst send a plague upon thine own people in the wilderness, for their obstinate rebellion against Moses and Aaron; and also, in the time of king David, didst slay with the plague of pestilence threescore and ten thousand, and yet remembering thy mercy didst save the rest: Have pity upon us miserable sinners, who now are visited with great sickness and mortality; that like as thou didst then accept of an atonement, and didst command the destroying Angel to cease from punishing, so it may now please thee to withdraw from us this plague and grievous sickness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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