28th August 2020

This weekend presents us with the last bank holiday before Christmas – not that bank holidays figure large in my life since retirement. For me, they’re mainly a case of avoiding problems by not going very far or, better still, keeping off the roads altogether, not unlike the restrictions we all knew in the early days of the pandemic. That particular threat is of course by no means over. With the imminent return to school, college, university and work for many, coupled with the approach of autumn and winter’s usual ailments, we’ll need to maintain our vigilance and common sense to avoid creating situations in which the coronavirus could flourish again.

2020 has seen normal expectations and assumptions about life turned upside-down, revealing the startling fragility of systems and institutions previously thought rock-solid.  As I write, some medical experts are predicting that Covid-19 isn’t going to be beaten even once we have an effective vaccine. Instead, it’s something we’ll have to learn to live with, as we do already with flu – and, as with flu, we’ll have to get used to annual vaccination against new, evolving strains. Covid-19 isn’t passing through, but making itself part of the scenery.

You may already be detecting echoes of those glorious words we associate with any good carol service: “And the Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14), or, in more contemporary style, “and moved into the neighbourhood”.  Whatever the twists and turns of human life, sharing in and engaging with our every experience is the God become one with us in his Son, Jesus Christ.

Ken Stewart