Church of England Diocese of Winchester Barton Stacey and Bullington

Love will come again...

28 May 2020, 3:30 p.m.

The Revd Writes…

“Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain,

Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;

Love lives again, that with the dead has been;

Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.”

At the time of writing the restrictions of Lockdown remain firmly in place but there is some hope that these will shortly be eased, and that life will slowly revert to a more normal pattern of living. The coronavirus pandemic has pushed into the spotlight the fragility and weaknesses of so much of our daily lives and systems that up until a few short months ago we believed to be strong and robust. Democracy, the market economy, national institutions from the NHS to local government administrations and charitable organisations have all been tested. Cracks papered over and fault lines ignored in the past have now all surfaced. Whilst we readjust to a new and more dangerous world somewhat hesitantly, somewhat unsure of where permanent security lies, the whole of humanity is forced to reflect on the consequences of this particular event in our history.

There are some painful losses. Industries and employment that were dependent upon the short-term have struggled and some will never recover. Some areas of the market economy that in the past prided themselves on super efficiency have found themselves unable to bridge the gap between something and nothing. Popular past times such as sport and other entertainments have been pushed to the sidelines and have had to either quickly reinvent themselves in a virtual world or to cease trading altogether. And as if this were not enough, thousands of families, already left dependent upon the state, have lost loved ones to chronic disease - lives cut short before their time. The Dever Valley, like everywhere else, has had to shoulder its fair share of suffering.

If this depressing picture feels too uncomfortable to bear and the urge is to move quickly on, then reflection on the priest poet JMC Crum’s words in his famous hymn above are worth pondering. ‘The dark earth…’ where ‘that with the dead has been…’ is crucial as a place for rethinking. From the experience of huge losses COVID-19 has also brought some positives to light. An under-resourced health service must now be more cherished than it was before. Some of the lowest paid workers, on whom all our common life depends, has been recognised of being of much greater value. The importance of neighbours and community has been reassessed. Living in a private, self-contained world is not good for any of us. Charity begins at home but must not stop at our front door.

Love will come again, in the weeks and months before us, more valued, more treasured, more shared – ‘like wheat that springeth green.’

God Bless Mark