What should life be like? That is a question COVID 19 has forced many people to ask. Despite, or perhaps because of, its horrors the virus has caused people to question what they really value. What is most important in life? The reading for this Sunday from Acts of Apostles could give clues.
The first followers of Jesus, “…devoted themselves …to fellowship…”. Many people report feeling a greater sense of community and social bonds in recent weeks. Think of those three-quarters of a million people who have volunteered to be official helpers and the many more who are helping neighbours informally. How many people have thanked you or said “Good morning” when out taking exercise you have moved across the pavement to give them proper distancing? And that is not to mention Captain Thomas Moore and the millions of pounds he has raised for others.
They also, “…ate their food with glad and generous hearts…”. In a recent YouGov poll 42% of respondents said that they valued food more than they did before the lockdown. People, even unconsciously, may be taking the words in the Lord’s prayer, “give us this day our daily bread” more seriously. Many people of faith say a prayer, known as “grace”, before eating to thank God for the provision of food. If you are someone who cannot find faith, you could still pause for a moment before eating to think of all the people who have worked to get that food onto your table. And people of faith think about including thanks to those people in your grace.
Next, the first followers would, “… sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all as any had need.”. Some people have far too many possessions others far too few, even in the United Kingdom. The COVID 19 lockdown can give us extra time to look through our wardrobes and store cupboards if we are amongst those who have too much. If so, what are we going to do about that?
Last, the first followers, “…devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching … to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”. COVID 19 has caused some people in affluent countries to question if the accumulation of more and more goods is all that there is to life? These words from Acts point us to an extra dimension: that of “something” bigger than ourselves. For Christians that “something” is God as expressed in the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth which promises renewal not just for humanity but for the whole of creation. If you want to explore that “something” further you could contact St Mark’s via the website.
On Friday 8th May we will be remembering the 75th anniversary of VE day the end of the Second World War in Europe. There was a determination that the world after World War II would be better than the pre War world. As people of hope may we work for a post COVID 19 world that is better that the pre virus world.
Gareth Lawrence -LLM at St Mark’s
All references are from Acts 2: 42 to the end
Image from Freely