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Free falling society

Updated: May 22, 2022

The world seems to have gone crazy. Over the past few months we have jumped from crisis to crisis the world over. Our family has experienced the floods in our home town; a burst water pipe at home which has left our house wrecked with devastation and now the Covid-19 virus which is sweeping the world. I’ve stood back and observed the way that we as a society have dealt with these two disasters and I have never seen such a stark contrast.

When the floods came, us in ‘the North’ all came to together. We opened up churches as disaster centres, donned wellies and got into boats to rescue vulnerable people from their homes, offered practical and emotional support wherever possible. It was humanity at its finest.

Fast forward only a few weeks and we are now visited by Covid-19. There is the potential that every human being in the world may become infected with the virus. I stand back and see society free falling into chaos. People out panic buying store cupboard items; still leaving public toilets without washing their hands; altruism is celebrated as people sell-on their stock pilled items for whatever price they can get; the vulnerable are left to fend for themselves as we as a society get to decide who can live and who can die – who can access basic food items and who cannot. Humanity at its worst.

The coronavirus is scary. As a solo parent I like to be super organised. I have times where my working week takes me away from my home town, often on overnight stays and travelling long distances. Over these next few weeks we have big national conferences in the diary which may or may not be postponed that we have to plan for either way. The indecision over whether schools will close leaves a working parent worried about who will look after their children. Holiday plans, fun plans like concerts, gatherings and events are put on hold; and my OCD self does go slightly into panic mode. How can I be super organised when I’m not even sure what tomorrow will hold, let alone today?

My social media is full of feeds giving us advice of how we can talk to our children about the coronavirus. But there is nothing out there that is giving advice to adults on how to look after society. Adults, children are watching how you manage crisis’s. They will learn how to manage their behaviour and how to look after society based upon your actions. If you ‘panic buy’ and clear supermarkets out of food and squirrel it away, what are you teaching your children? If you buy more than you need but give it away to food banks who are so desperately in need of replenishing, what are you teaching your children?

The Bible says over and over that God will supply all your needs.

One of my favourite stories involves a child. Jesus had people around Him all the time. People just wanted to be near Him and listen to His wisdom and try to gain something for themselves. That can be exhausting. On one of these occasions, Jesus and His disciples hadn’t even eaten. So Jesus suggested that they find a quiet place where they could relax and refresh. They headed out on a boat but still people followed. Some even ran ahead and got there first. Can you even imagine how tiring that must have been?

When Jesus arrived on the shore, He began to teach the people again. As it got later and later in the day the disciples raised the question about dismissing the crowds to go and get something to eat. Jesus told the disciples that instead of letting the crowds go, the disciples were to feed them instead. Jesus asked them to find out how much bread they had in the crowd. Thinking Jesus was perhaps a little mad the disciples go and head out into the crowd. They find a boy who has five loaves and two fish. Taking the food, Jesus lifts it towards Heaven, blesses it and feeds 5000 men plus women and children with enough for leftovers!

Now many stories have been told about the boy who gave up his packed lunch. You have to remember that during Biblical times, children were amongst the lowest ranking groups. They did not have a voice and certainly were not able to withhold a packed lunch to a man who asked for it. Jesus knew this. But Jesus chose to bless the boy and his family by giving him twelve baskets of leftovers. Can you imagine the conversation with his mum when he got home?

“What do you mean you didn’t eat all your lunch? You gave it away? What – you have twelve baskets of leftovers? What am I going to do with that? Call all the neighbours together and let’s all feast together and celebrate God’s goodness.”

The first church as recorded in the book of Acts shared everything that they had. Nobody stock pilled, everyone looked out for everybody else. There was not a shortage. When Moses led the Israelite's out of Egypt, God provided everything that they needed. There are so many stories that I could point you to in the Bible where God has provided.

One of the best things about God is that He is the same yesterday as He is today and will be tomorrow. That means He never changes. What He did for thousands of people in the Bible, He will do and is doing today in the 21st century.

We are called to love our neighbour as we love ourselves. That means not always putting ourselves on top of the list of priorities but making sure that we are looking after the whole of society. As the last few months have shown us, it’s easy to love people when we aren’t in the middle of a crisis ourselves. It was easier to help flood victims when we aren’t the victim of a flood. It’s harder to help others when we all face the uncertainty of a global virus. Or we take the attitude of – we’ll help others once we’ve sorted ourselves first.

The best way that we can change society is by changing ourselves. Leading by example. Showing our children how to look after others, how to handle a crisis, how to adhere to government policies that are there to protect society as a whole. Those of you who are parents, don’t forget of the privilege that has been given to you. Yes it’s hard. Yes we all have moments where we just want to crawl under the duvet and not be a parent today. But we have been invested with the task of raising the next generation. Let’s be leaders in our own homes and help show our children the way that the world should be.

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