Cheerful in the Pandemic Word on the Week 17th October 2020.
The daily paper ran 75 contributions showing how people managed to be cheerful in the Covid crisis when the disease was escalating. It assumed cheerfulness was in short supply! It tapped into our basic optimistic, “keep the rules” and “stay safe and wear the mask” have become the mantra.
Amongst the replies most found music lifted the spirit. Enjoying nature, a close second. The latter usually involving some gentle exercise. Viewing sport on TV, reading books that have lain in the house, unread, for ages and watching children’s antics helped many. A number were into DIY and more claimed baking and/or eating cheered them up!
It was hard to find anything out of the ordinary. Perhaps it is to the ordinary things of life that we resort when the extraordinary is closing in. Sadly, there was no spiritual element, no anchor to hold onto, nothing solid.
This week there was a budget of €18bn passed in the Dáil – the biggest ever. Money did not feature among the replies. The Brexit deal seemed further away than ever so that brought little cheer. The conspiracy theory, promoted by the anti-mask crowd, sees the world slipping into the hands of a despot. This only increases the anxiety levels.
Our predicament is small by comparison to that of the nation Israel in exile but the instruction from God through the prophet Jeremiah does have some bearing on our position. From the outset it was made clear that it was the Lord who brought them to Babylon and the exile was going to last some time. There was a warning not to listen to other prophets and diviners who are prophesying lies. This was followed by the glorious promise “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” Chapter 29 verses 4 to 14.
In New Testament times the disciple Philip asked Jesus that question, “Lord show us the Father” (St John Chapter 14 verse 8). “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” was the reassuring reply. In fact, the only time the Father was not in Jesus was when he was on the Cross. There Jesus was made sin for us and in the darkness of the cross paid the penalty for our sin (Isaiah 53 verse 4).
What does this mean for us in these Covid times? It means that the offer of pardon for our sins and a forgiveness that wipes the slate clean is there for all who turn and trust in Jesus. It means a peace that transcends the peace of this world is available because it is the peace of Jesus and comes from him not us. He is the foundation to build our lives on giving us stability in crisis. All this can come to us through his grace (St Matthew Chapter 7 verses 24/5 & 2 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 14).