"Better for each other because of the worst"
In this week's reflection, Bishop Cherry talks about VE Day celebrations during lockdown and the ways communities are still connecting.
One of the remarkable things about the current situation that we’re in is the ways in which neighbours and communities and groups of all sorts have looked for ways of coming together. Choirs have been created on-line singing hymns, anthems and songs. Band members have been brought together across the airwaves and an extraordinary number of musicians across the world joined in the playing of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy the other week. Churches have also been bringing people together and not just for prayer either. Coffee mornings, study groups and youth group activities still go on, thanks to Zoom and other media platforms. And, of course, many of you will have joined in the Thursday night applause; thanking the NHS staff for the vital work they’re doing and the sacrifices they’re making.
Listening to people’s comments the other day on a TV news channel, I was struck by the desire, the need indeed, for people to come together and join in a common task. Human beings are social animals, and yet we live in times when many of us don’t even speak to or smile at our neighbours let alone get to know them. But these times of social distancing seem to be re-igniting a need and a desire to join with others to acknowledge our common humanity and the experience that all of us are both sharing in and working together to combat.
On Friday, we celebrate VE Day; the day that marked the end of 6 years war in Europe. Although the parades and pomp and ceremony have had to be cancelled, there remains a determination, nonetheless, to ensure that this day doesn’t go unmarked. Once again, people are planning to come together for street parties, sing-alongs, and all manner of other activities, together with the traditional two minutes silence, last post and reveille at 11am.
The lockdown and social distancing, the face masks and an uncertain future have brought home to us the important things in life that we took for granted only two months ago. And the question is, will we change our behaviour in the long term as a result of this? Will we have learnt to treasure enough those simple and yet fundamental things that are so vital to our social and communal well-being, such that we hold on to them when all this is no longer a reality.
Last week, I was sent a copy of this Thought for the Day that appeared in the April Magazine of the Iles of Scilly Methodist Church:
May we indeed stay that way: better for each other because of the worst.