Last week at the Cathedral saw us remembering quite a bit. We were, of course, in mourning following the death of His Late Royal Highness, the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. We prayed for the repose of his soul at each of the offices and Eucharists of the daily round throughout the week, culminating in Philip’s funeral at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, and a service of Choral Evening Prayer on Sunday the 18th in our Cathedral attended by the Lord Lieutenant (Her Majesty’s representative in Merseyside) and other dignitaries.
Thursday the 15th — in the midst of this remembering and mourning week — also saw us remembering the Hillsborough Disaster. We prayed at all services that day for the 96 victims, their families, and the knock-on effects of the disaster. And the Hillsborough Memorial outside was a focus of prayer at 3pm that day, suitably decorated with red flowers.
And now we find ourselves in the after-time, if you will, of remembering and mourning. As vaccinations continue to take place here and around the world, there’s a sense of hope and possibility that continues to warm the heart, perhaps concurrent with the return of warmer Spring weather here in the UK.
I’m also finding myself unable to fully let go of lockdown life. As much as I look forward to socialisation and travel (two things I have never missed before now), I also feel a responsibility to remember the pandemic. And to continue to remember it, beyond the process of restrictions being lifted.
Lockdown has reminded us of many things “the hard way.” Perhaps among the most important is to remember the idea that Jesus taught us so long ago:
Jesus answered them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah!’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs. (Matthew 24:4-8).
Covid-19 has reminded us that the world is indeed broken. I think many of us knew that beforehand, but Covid-19 has — literally — stopped us in our tracks, and forced us, as a global, to work together to stop the spread of a disease that is a threat to all of us, but especially to the most vulnerable among us.
Jesus warned us, and Covid-19 has reminded us, that the world is broken, and it will wreak havoc as a matter of course. None of us, especially not Jesus’ followers in the Church, are immune from the pain and hurt of the world.
As we cautiously step beyond the pandemic, and entrust the departed to God’s care, we cannot forget the broken reality in which God has placed us. That shouldn’t depress us; it should call us to action, and remind us to do all we can to bind up each other’s wounds as we walk each other home.
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