"... let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5. 16
I learned a new word yesterday: Corona-coaster. Some wag described it as what happens when commitment to Joe Wicks' work-outs diminishes and tantrums increase. Another way to describe it may be as what you get when you mix emotion with confinement. So much for the problem, what about the solution - or, at least, a strategy for recovery?
I was inspired by a Tearfund podcast on the topic. It suggested that we start by lamenting over the broken-ness which the Corona-crisis has revealed: whether that amounts to recognising the vulnerability of those of a certain age or ethnicity or with underlying health conditions, or the impact of wealth disparities, or the hypocrisy of those who break the rules they expect everyone else to observe. As someone said, we may all be in the same storm but we are not in the same boat!
So where is God in the chaos and confusion? The last few days of unseasonably stormy weather have offered a clue - in the form of the rainbows which occasionally light up the sky. As a rainbow spoke to Noah and his entourage of God's rededication to Creation, so it can reassure us today: of the Lord's presence and the continuing efficacy of his promises.
Ironically our enforced separation has evoked humanity's own rededication - to the communities we inhabit. Has the tide of individualism been turned? That will be determined by whether we rush back to our old habits of self-indulgence, or hang on to the mutual dependence that is getting us through this crisis and bringing to light what really matters. This shift in attitudes is already going much further, finding expression in our elevation of those who used to be taken for granted as low paid staff and are now celebrated as key workers.
Looking to the future, we have that rare opportunity of a collective fresh start. How often does that happen? People say that it seems as if the birds are singing more loudly in the absence of traffic. Apparently not. They are singing more softly because of the absence of traffic; it's just that we can hear them better. Can that become a metaphor for us all to tread more lightly upon the earth - for the whole of Creation's benefit? Surely that will delight our Creator...
What will also delight our Creator, because Jesus said so, is if Christians take inspiration from the rainbow and let the light of our faith illuminate darkness wherever it occurs: in confusion, despair, loss. And so much the better if that leads on to our contributing to the public discourse shaping how society adjusts to the "new normal". If there was ever a time for placing our light on a table in the window...