Priest's Perspective

The Priests Perspective – Consequences

Grace and truth to you from God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

No matter how prepared one thinks one is for certain things, they come as a shock anyway. We don’t truly know how we will handle something until we actually have to deal with it ourselves. This means that we need to be gentle with ourselves as we navigate this season where there are no answers and there are so many competing claims that we are left confused. I share here, some great wisdom from Deacon John Aitchison. I pray, that as you deal with what started out as a world issue, then a national issue and now a personal issue, that you will draw on your faith to see you through, and your faith will need to deepen because everything superficial is being purged – as scripture says you are being refined as in a fire. I commend these thoughts to you and assure you of my prayers.

“Many of us are now beginning to hear direct stories of the impact of the pandemic on our lives.

In the early days of lockdown it was mainly, in descending order of severity, the inconvenience, some panic anxiety, missing our friends and relatives, and the loss of income. The latter was the most severe consequence and the subsequent debate about easing the lockdown was all about whether the economy had to be restarted even if the loss of lives was greater.

Now the stories are even more directly our own. We know people who have been infected, been seriously ill in hospital and in some cases, died. We know of people who have been driven to hospital unable to breathe and the Covid-19 wards are already full. We have seen the fatigue which people recovering from the infection have to endure. We have teacher friends who are perplexed on what is the right thing to do. Equally authoritative experts tell them totally different things – Go back to school, it is OK! Don’t go back, the children will mix at school and spread it even more! And new information hits our television and cell phones each day with new and confusing messages. We are indeed in that science fiction pandemic movie where literally nobody really knows what is best and everything people try, gets them into another crisis.

The reality is that this is indeed the consequence of a totally new and vicious virus. In spite of all the prophetic warnings from, yes, science fiction writers, and disease control scientists, no government on earth took the threat seriously enough to put adequate preparations in place. In South Africa we are now paying an exceedingly high price for the mismanagement and corruption that has characterised government and the private sector for far too long. We, or rather the poor, are going to pay a deadly price for the inequality in South Africa (10% of the population owns 86% of its wealth) and the lack of something like a Basic Income Grant.

So what can we do? Yes we have to accept that these consequences are real and there is not much, at this stage that we can do about them. But at a personal and local level we can do the following:

• Everybody should have at least rudimentary knowledge of what to do if a person in their household gets sick. Each church congregation should see that this information is communicated to all members.

• Everybody with the means should try and ensure that nobody goes hungry in their local area and this means donations to soup kitchens, NGOs delivering food parcels, and such like. And we also need to monitor how state food parcels are being delivered and to whom, so that corruption is exposed and stopped.

• If schools close (or if they open fully yet many parents keep their children at home) we can try and offer support to parents who may themselves find it hard to become home teachers of their own children.

• We can endeavour not to be divided by contradictory opinions of what to do. We must stay together in this dark time.

The virus tsunami is now truly upon us. We have the fifth highest number of infections in the world. May the Lord be with us.” (Rev John Aitchison – Lockdown Homily 119).

I am grateful to Deacon John for this wisdom shared with us. I remind you that as a Parish we have structures in place to attend to all the actions that he calls us to. Should you wish to get involved please contact me.

Our God who has called you is faithful and he will not fail you!
Choose faith not fear!
Fr Andrew

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