August 21

1 Corinthians 13: 12

Since the pandemic started, we have been hoping for a day when all will return to ‘normal’. Even though all restrictions have been lifted, it does not feel as though we are at the point of heaving a sigh of relief and waving Covid “good bye”.

I recently spoke to some friends from our caving club. One is a nurse who caught Covid on the ward. She is experiencing Long Covid symptoms but has returned to work to support her short staffed colleagues still caring for very poorly people. Another is a deputy head who outlined the struggle to keep staff, pupils and parents going whilst sorting out food parcels for families in need during the long holidays. Then, there was an elderly lady in Greenhow who I haven’t seen since Christmas 2019. She thanked me with tears in her eyes for remembering that, last time I saw her, she had just come out of hospital following an operation. She has barely seen anyone due to shielding and I could tell that she feels invisible sometimes.

Talking caving again reminded me of a piece I wrote at the start of the first lockdown. We have made great strides forward since then but there are a lot of people still feeling worried and uncertain about health, about jobs, about managing the  huge backlog of delayed ‘stuff’ we have to deal with. Some of what I wrote then seems just as relevant now:

Any new climber is advised to maintain three points of contact with the rock, giving optimum stability and reducing your risk of falling. The first time you are told to, “let go and trust your rope,” is a revelation; that something only millimetres thick can stop you falling into the abyss.

When climbing you often have someone holding you on a lifeline, talking you through the tricky bits; giving you slack rope and freedom to climb whilst the going is good, or tightening the rope to hold you close in when the scary bits come.

Now, faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains; and hope as slim as that rope has seen people through the darkest of days. Love is the lifeline that takes in the slack and holds us when the going is rough. We may have human life liners such as family and friends, pastors, carers, medical staff, keyworkers, neighbours etc. doing that for us. Even if we haven’t, there is a greater Life Liner still.

It’s time to, “Just let go and trust” the rope of Faith, Hope and Love; our three points of contact. The greatest of these is love and, even though the rope might fray and break… Love never fails!