Tuesday 16th June
Thought for the Day
One of the Bible stories I can remember from my earliest school days is the parable "The good Samaritan". It is a story of help in an emergency coming from the least likely source and an example of loving compassion and generosity. How do you react in an emergency?
• Do you run away?
• Do you run around like corporal Jones in "Dad's Army", shouting "Don't panic! Don't panic!"?
• Do you just freeze?
• Or do you react in a calm and collected way, doing the necessary things in a generous and thoughtful manner?
The problem with emergencies it that they come out of the blue, they are unique and they always seem to happen at the most awkward time. This year we have the coronavirus to contend with, which is an emergency that has affected the whole world. It is an enemy that we cannot see and cannot easily control. Jumping up and down in frustration will do no good whatsoever and will only raise our blood pressure. Most of us are in the same boat, with self-isolation social distancing, cancelled holidays and cancelled everything and worst of all not seeing when we might get back to “normal”, whatever that might be in the future. In my study I had a copy of that great wartime poster "Keep Calm and Carry on" for many years. Sometimes we really do need just to keep calm, because we cannot help others if we are not in control of ourselves.
Luckily, in this country, we do not have the same number of disasters and emergencies, that countries such as Haiti and Bangladesh have to contend with. When we do have them we have the benefit of marvellous emergency services, an infrastructure that allows rapid response and a degree of national wealth that allows us to regain equilibrium in time.
For many years I represented the Church of England in Warwickshire on committees that prepared ministers of religion, of all faiths, to help with pastoral care if emergencies and disasters should occur. I have been trained in how to be part of the emergency team and in dealing with the media, and I have a luminescent jacket with “CLERGY” on the back to wear with my dog-collar, which is somewhere in the garage. However, none of us know how we would react in a real emergency situation. The answer as far as I am concerned is that I know that my God goes with me wherever I go. Fortunately for most of us in this country we live in a reasonably safe and stable environment, but perhaps the example of the good Samaritan should inspire us all; the slogan on that wartime poster, "Keep calm and carry on", should help us when things are tough on a personal basis, and finally remember to let God go with you in all things that you attempt