We asked Bella Harding, who spearheaded the 2019 project to help our Parish 'Live Simply', to offer us her reflections at this point in the current COVD crisis.
I am very glad we have spent a year thinking about living simply, as this is exactly what we are having to do now. We were more aware of the environment, and now we can take exercise in parks and enjoy the birdsong in the new quiet lockdown. We have thought about our needs and our wants, and now we are down to essential travel and shopping. We have thought about gratitude and now we owe an immense debt of gratitude to our NHS workers and all the essential key workers that keep us going. As they might say, they have always done this, we have just been unaware and maybe risked being ungrateful.
The extraordinary thing about the lockdown is the way that the sudden stopping of activity has allowed the natural world to blossom forth, and that environmental pollution appears to be less profitable, allowing global emissions to drop in an unexpected way. There is however huge anxiety and loss for many people and unknown economic fallout, but maybe a chance to put new ideas in place instead of the old.
The pain of not being able to visit family and friends for the foreseeable future is intense. So too is the pain of having our churches locked. And the livestreaming of Mass in no way replaces the experience, which I now feel I took all too much for granted. I personally livestream the Pope's Mass, and benefit from his thoughtful homilies as well as eucharistic adoration at the end. I also walk in the park praying psalms which I have memorised. They are the hugest comfort. Prayer is the most important thing we all can do at this time. Prayer for the suffering, the dead and the bereaved, the carers and essential workers and all who face unknown futures, those suffering in the lockdown and the homeless and refugees. We can support all charities at this time.
And we can also rejoice in the new community enterprises, the new kindness among neighbours and the immense creativity that people are showing. Let us pray that just as God holds us in his hands, he will guide us towards a new and happier future.
A terrible joke to finish with: if you think you are too small to make a difference, ask a coronavirus!