Saturday, 08 May 2021

Log off and leave tweeting to birds

WAY back at the beginning of all this, I remember seeing a cartoon of the almighty holding a rather virus-shaped earth. A small angel behind him was tentatively suggesting “Have you tried turning if off and then on again?”

Another favourite recent quote: “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

These last months have surely taken their toll on most of us in one way or another, whether or not any outward symptoms have appeared, and the need to unplug — or, as the almighty would have it, “remember the Sabbath” — is more important than ever.

Our mental wellbeing is at least as crucial, if not more so, than our physical health and no system copes well with overload or constant tension.

Psalm 91 says: “You who live in the shelter of Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord ‘My refuge and my fortress; my God in whom I trust….. You will not fear the pestilence that stalks in the darkness.”

This is not to say that those who believe in God will not ever succumb to the virus, or indeed be protected from lightning strikes or chickenpox, but that we will not fear these things, or indeed anything else.

The fact that Jesus reveals to us a God who knows and loves us, unconditionally and for ever, can enable us to trust him through the bad times: not that he will save us from them, but that, somehow, he will see us through them. I know that for me there have certainly been times when I’ve said, “Lord, this is just too much — I just can’t cope.” Where are you? Yet here I am to tell the tale…

Our underlying anxiety is so often that we, or someone we love, will die and, of course, such fears are exacerbated by the use of big scary words like “pandemic” and highlighting the most extreme stories and statistics. But is death the worst thing that can happen?

For those who are unsure, or cannot believe in life after death, this may seem true but for those who find the promises and the resurrection of Jesus convincing it is, however sad, simply a transition.

Wherever we stand with regard to belief in God, the need to unplug from the twitter-feed of more or less accurate information is vital.

Of course, there are challenges and concerns but for the sake of our own sanity we need to take some time out and find perspective. It’s not being irresponsible. Put the kettle on, pour yourself a beer, take time. Thank heaven we have enough food and medicine — crops are flourishing, blackberries are ripening, butterflies are multiplying. Please God, we too will emerge to tell the tale.

For a few minutes — or as long as it takes — leave twittering to the birds.

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