Letter from the Rectory - March 2021
This month of course seems the anniversary of when pandemic erupted into our lives. There have been various moments of seeing light at the end of the tunnel, then setbacks. More recently, the appearance of the vaccines has been a triumph for the scientists, their rapid roll out a triumph for the NHS and the procurement of sufficient quantities a triumph for the Government. There is the prospect of all adults receiving their initial injection by early autumn. But the good news in tempered by news of new variants and the need for enhanced vaccines. And we ask ourselves, “Will this never end?”
Seeing how life used to be in normal times on television or films makes us feel rather nostalgic: reflecting on the simple things that filled our everyday lives, meeting relatives and friends, giving each other a hug; people standing happily together rather than having to avoid each other; and crowds enjoying a concert or a sporting event. One of those traditions that has somehow survived down through the centuries, and is particularly pertinent at the moment, is saying, ‘Bless you’ when someone sneezes. It is believed that the origin of the phrase probably goes all the way back to Pope Gregory the Great and the Roman Plague of 590.
Our great desire is to get back to normal, or to a degree of normality, although it seems likely that we’ll have to live with Covid-19, perhaps in rather the same way that we do with flu.
But there is the prospect of something better than ‘back to normal’. Jesus came not simply to wind the clock back to the time before men and women messed it all up. He came to bring in a new creation where sin and death will be no more, but rather the glory of God will shine brightly. That is why the Son of God came into our world, to die for our sins on the cross and be raised from the dead. One day he will return to make all things new. As Paul wrote to the First Century Christians in Corinth, ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!’