New Monklands Parish Church

“Don’t it always seem to go
that you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.”

Jonie Mitchell; Big Yellow Taxi Cab. 1970.
Album: “Ladies of the Canyon”

We’re now into our fourth week of what’s been come to be known as “Lockdown”. How are you bearing up? How many things have you discovered in these days that you took for granted in your everyday life before covid-19? Ordinary things like hugging a friend, going out for a bit of lunch or even just a casual bit of window shopping. Or how about cuddling your grandchildren or hearing other kids playing outside your house. Now we realise just how precious these things are to us, as is our freedom to decide whether we go out or stay in. Why didn’t we appreciate them properly before? But, then, there’s no point beating ourselves up about this, who could have forecast the days that we’re currently living through (well, apart, that is, from the World Health Organisation who have been calling for years for countries to be better prepared for such an eventuality). But while we miss what we so glibly took for granted let’s rejoice too at what we have rediscovered about ourselves and others. The term “rejoice” refers to generating and feeling a warm sense of happiness or celebration when we notice  happiness, compassion, kindness, generosity or a sense of well being in others or ourselves….isn’t that a wonderful word?…and a wonderful kind of celebration! Rejoice, then, that we have a safe place to live, a wonderful NHS, loving family around us, caring neighbours, food in the shops to buy and eat and wifi, thank God for wifi! Many people in our world can’t ever enjoy these privileges. I think of those living in makeshift shelters in refugee camps, those caught in the crossfire in Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan, all places with very poor health care even before this current crisis broke around us. We need to acknowledge that the world’s population is only as strong as its weakest link and that we are, truly, all in this together.

Jesus once asked His followers a powerful question: “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” In these days of “lock down” I am beginning to recognise the truth in that question. In order to be happy we don’t need the whole world. Perhaps we can find both God and our true selves when we recognise what we do have and are thankful for it. I encourage you in the fifty days of this Easter season to use to its fullest this precious gift of life that we have been given, rejoice in what you are able to complete or achieve in these challenging days. As is being clearly shown, we often have little control over the future so it’s important to remain in the moment and work on things that we can work on right now.
Jesus also said “I have come that you might have life and have it in all its fullness” this is not a green light for irresponsible hedonism but an encouragement that assures us that even if life gives us lemons we’re to squeeze every last drop out of it we can, that’s “life in all its fullness”.

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