Welcome + Worship + Witness

The Rector: Courageous Restraint

Fifth Sunday in Lent
29 March 2020
10.30 Eucharist

Revd Nicholas Mercer

This past week has witnessed one of the most extra-ordinary events in our history

We are now living through a pandemic where there is a daily risk of death, not just to the weak and vulnerable in our society, but to all of us

We have all read stories in our history books of plagues but we generally believed that they had been consigned to history

But clearly not

In fact, we have simply been living through an extraordinarily privileged chapter in time

We have benefitted from great advances in medicine, including the discovery of anti-biotics

It has allowed us to live in a medical and economic bubble

But as the environmental commentator George Monibot remarked this week, the membrane of this bubble has been pierced

We no longer have the security we once took for granted

This exposure to the underlying reality of our existence has exposed some unpleasant parts of our society

The ugly scenes in super markets also show how terrified and detached we have become from the sourcing and production of food

The fight over loo paper shows just how unprepared we are as a nation to confront the human condition

And there are those, across all age groups, who have shown scant regard for their fellow human beings, putting their own selfish wishes before others

We must all show “courageous restraint” in this time of national crisis

But on the other hand this week has revealed an extraordinary generosity of spirit and self-sacrifice

The call on Tuesday for 250,000 volunteers for the NHS resulted in over 500,000 volunteers by the end of the week

This desire and willingness to serve others reflects the life of our Lord Jesus Christ

Who took on the form of a servant to serve us all – something we are all now called to do for our fellow men and women and for our nation

Brother Roger of Taize once said “Christ does not ask for too much but he does ask for everything”

This is discipleship and this is the challenge of the moment