Under normal circumstances, a vulnerable relative eats dinner with us each week, so during enforced isolation we’ve been cooking an extra portion to take to him. A couple of times he’s told us he hasn’t got room in the freezer. Last time, chatting with him and a neighbour who looks out for him, we discovered he’s been getting a fair few people deliver him meals. We’re in particularly challenging times, in so many ways, and yet I’m astounded at how people are looking after each other with such acts of kindness. The grind of the world has slowed down, people have had to face the fragility of life and something of the goodness in humanity glimmers.
The world—in its greed, its commercialisation, its effort to build wealth and power for the rich and elite—doesn’t see the value of such love. It only knows how to exploit and oppress in favour of its agenda. Those of us who love Jesus, keep his commandments. Does that mean all of those laws in the Hebrew Bible? And where in the bible do we find the commandments for during a pandemic? It’s much more than that! Jesus, in fulfilling the law, moved God’s presence in the world to a much deeper level: love God and love your neighbour. It is the Advocate who dwells in us, lights our way, and strengthens our love for God and for each other. The world might think we’re strange, that our values are peculiar, that washing each other’s feet is demeaning—ultimately that putting others first denies our own success. Yet, we know, because we have the Spirit of truth, that this is what community is about: service, love and kindness. Embrace that truth, be open to God’s guidance through the Spirit, and at this time when people question whether the world has got it right, shine your light so others may know the reality of God in our lives.