Lent Inspirations #3

Hello. This is still technically Lent but I think all that blithering on that I did about what I was going to read or do has been a bit overtaken now and all everyone is thinking about is Covid-19. (That is except Aged Parent who still can’t get her Sky box working and is therefore completely cut off from the whole thing. I’ll be honest – I’m not rushing to get it repaired at the moment – ignorance is bliss – for everyone involved).

We have just returned from a disappointing trip from London. We were prepared to risk life and limb to see Steve Martin and Martin Short at the Albert Hall but he was not prepared to return the favour and hot footed it back to America, cancelling the show. Actually, it’s not so much the cancelling that bothered me – at a time like this everyone needs to do what they think is right – it is more the fact that they had actually landed back on American soil before the cancellation announcement was made. Some of us might not have made the trip to London at all if we had known that cancellation was a possibility. Bah! Still we had a nice time. We spent time in galleries (very quiet) and shops (equally quiet). We went to see the Andy Warhol exhibition at the Tate. My impressions of his work were

a) Everything is a lot bigger that you think it is – the Mao picture is enormous.

b) So many of drawings of men’s dangly bits does pale pretty quickly

c) Everyone who was part of his “Factory” group of people looked to me as if they all smelled. (No proof obviously – never stopped me rushing to judgement before).

We were very careful – hand sanitising all the time and keeping away from crowds wherever possible. We also discovered that we have reached an age that we need to be staying in a slightly nicer hotel when we can. We decided to save a few bob reasoning that we are never in the hotel room much when in London but – I’ll be honest – the place we stayed in was just the right side of grim. And when we walked in and gave our names, the (mask wearing) receptionist opened her file and to everyone’s general dismay we all saw that there were no entries under “H”.

“Er – we don’t seem to have a booking for you” (I slide my email copy of the booking across the Reception Desk.) “Ah yes. I see. Well I will give you our newest room Yes?” Hmm. The newest room was right next to the toilets and far too close to the bar for our general comfort. So, we have just made a decision that, when we go again, we are of an age now that we need a bit more comfort. Not Five Star level just not the sort of place where you are insulted by a mask wearing receptionist because you are checking in to the kind of place where you are a bit worried about what you might catch – never mind her. That’s if anyone ever travels anywhere again.

I wanted to ask about Covid -19 and the praying. I mean obviously churches and everyone are praying but I am hearing and seeing a lot of the “Lord, please give all the relevant skills to the doctors” and “Lord, let us all care for each other even more at this time.” kind of prayers. These, are important ways to pray but (and apologies if you are doing this) I don’t feel that I am seeing a lot of “God – you are God – stop this now.” type of praying. You know – like a sort of War of the Worlds type prayer like approach where everyone looks for a miracle. It feels a bit like we have all accepted this is going to happen and we are just hoping for the best. Is that just me? If I’m not careful I read all the chumps on Twitter and believe every word. There’s a lovely line in the King James version of Isaiah

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear

Which translates in the Living Bible to

Listen now! The Lord isn’t too weak to save you. And he isn’t getting deaf! He can hear you when you call!

Which makes we wonder a bit if we should be upping the ante a bit when it comes to praying round this. Should we be upping our expectations to call on a God that has never played odds and percentages – you don’t need to when you are God. I’m all for skilled doctors and I love the old science (even though I preferred doing Typing at school when we got to choose) but am I setting my sights too low? I love the CS Lewis quote on living in an Atomic Age which is certainly relevant

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

That should certainly deal with feeling the need to snatch the last packet of toilet rolls from an old lady’s trolley but, on top of this, I feel I need to look to a Big God – who is able – not just to calm me down but to bring the whole thing to an unexpected and wholly miraculous end.

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1 Comment

  1. March 16, 2020 / 6:31 am

    I knew a woman who used to say “I’m praying for An Intervention”. I suppose what I am praying is “please God make it stop, but until it does, send me grace to deal with it” Which is frequently my default prayer in difficult times. How frustrating about the late cancellation. I thought London felt quieter, as I travelled through on Saturday. The fun and silliness of attending a baby shower was a welcome diversion.

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