May 2020

Originally published in the King’s Stanley Magazine.

We’re all in this together?

Yes and no!

Yes, because anybody can go down with the virus, even the heir to the throne, even the P.M., even previously healthy young people.

No, because many of us have gardens and secure incomes, and are not “on the front line,” daily risking our lives through merely doing our jobs.

This means that being grateful has taken on a new meaning, seen powerfully in the Thursday night round of applause. It means that we have unmasked the lie that there are unskilled workers, who therefore must be lower paid. Every job has skills to be learnt. Many of us, for all our qualifications and certificates, simply do not have the skills required to do many of the tasks which are essential to the health of society. It has been interesting to see the way in which our gratitude has spread from nurses and doctors to lorry drivers, supermarket staff, cleaners and refuse disposal officers (let’s not, in our unthinking condescension, refer to them as “bin men”) among others.

Hopefully, we have learnt to appreciate things and people in a new way.

Perhaps we have a fresh appreciation of family, friends and neighbours because we have missed family get-togethers, and because of help and support offered and received.

Perhaps we have a warmer regard for “strangers,” thanks to those unknown individuals who have kindly stepped back to make space for us on our walks, and who have smiled and offered greetings.

Perhaps we even have an enhanced appreciation for spring, and the way its blossom and flowers bring fresh life and colour to our gardens, to our walks, and to our village.

If we turn our thoughts beyond this country, though, there is the stark reality of places where social distancing is much harder and where medical provision is inadequate even at the best of times.

This year’s Christian Aid Week will be different, and there could be the danger of it getting somewhat lost amid all our other concerns. Take a moment to have a look at the Christian Aid website and see all the ways in which you can still be involved, despite the coronavirus lockdown.

Contributing to Christian Aid Week is a wonderful way for us to express our gratitude for our relative good fortune and to demonstrate our appreciation that we are all bound together as human beings.

In Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats, the King says,

“You have my Father’s blessing… For when I was hungry, you gave me food; when thirsty, you gave me a drink; when I was a stranger, you took me into your home; when naked you clothed me; when ill you came to my help; when in prison you visited me.” (Matthew 25.34-36)

Gratitude and appreciation.

We’re all in this together… Yes indeed, but some more than others, not just in our land but throughout the world.

God bless,

Robert Draycott (Rev)

PS I have been writing mini-messages to send out to our regulars on Sundays. They are brief and have been well received. They are posted here on our website each week. Be warned, though: the latest begins with a spoiler alert re a certain white bearded jovial red suited man…

About Robert Draycott

After training at Regent's Park College Oxford for the Baptist Ministry I was ordained in 1976. My first Church was Wollaston in Northamptonshire. Then our whole family moved to Brasil where I served with the BMS in a variety of roles including teaching Theology and Biblical studies in Campo Grande. From 1992 -2010 I was Chaplain and Head of RS at Eltham College. I was Interim Minister of Eltham URC 2012-14, before moving to Gloucester in 2015.
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