Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Love in hard times will see us through

“FOR the love of God is broader than the measure of man’s mind.”

Might these lines from an early 19th century hymn give some comfort to the many, if not the majority, of our society who find the confusion caused by the current pandemic disorienting, distressing and often very frightening?

So many have lost their nearest and dearest while others, particularly in households where one or more are especially vulnerable, are fearful. Fearful of going out, fearful of meeting people — even fearful of receiving home deliveries of vital supplies, food, and medicine.

News channels seek to keep us all up to date which, with the best will in the world, often adds confusion and greater distress.

We are told by those in charge “We are led by the science” but then we find out that not all the scientists agree. Surely the scientists should agree, near enough, because they deal in facts and facts are facts. The certainty of “The what and the how”. A naive view of technical medical data perhaps but nonetheless many soon become confused and disillusioned.

From the dawn of time mankind has been searching to understand the world in which the human species resides. “What is it all about” asked the psalmists 3,000 years ago. How do the stars travel across the firmament? How were they made? Why were they made?

Today we may ask: Who am I? Why am I here? What am I here for? Why should I and my loved ones suffer? Like the psalmist of old, scientists today are asking similar questions. What is covid-19? Where did it come from? How can we live with it? How can we destroy its evil potency before it destroys us?

It is in these circumstances that the old hymn reminds us that as human beings we have our limitations, even if we do not wish to admit it. The measure of our minds is limited. Yet the old hymn also reminds us that the love of God is broader than our ability to understand all that our very being implies.

Yes, that love is being positively acted out in the lives of so many in our communities by serving one’s neighbour, often without much thought for one’s self.

As the Queen reminded us in her recent broadcast to the nation, our streets are not empty but full of love for our fellow men and women at this time of trouble and despair.

Take heart, the love of God is broader than our abilities to solve these intractable, and frightening situations. And within ourselves we can still display that love which is deep within each one of us despite all our troubles, fears, and weaknesses.

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