Thursday, March 12, 2020

Blessings and curses

Old Testament reading for Holy Communion today: Jeremiah 17:5-10

Blessings, and curses.

Curses are temporary measures, unpleasant at the time, imposed for the long-term benefit of the flourishing of life. They are not punishments, but, rather, opportunities.

Blessings are the lasting experience of the flourishing of life. They are not rewards, but, they can be received with thankful hearts or ignored.

Travel restrictions and social distancing in response to coronavirus are curses. They are inconvenient, and costly. And, for a time, necessary. Not as a permanent state, but in order that we can return to living life in all of its fullness, without fear, without negatively impacting upon others.

And the condition of curses is that they bring to light the best and the worst in us. The selfishness of stockpiling, of looking after Number One. And the selflessness of looking out for our neighbour, with special attention to the most vulnerable in society.

Curses reveal what is there, within us — reveal the heart. They reveal how we have understood blessing, whether we have known it as gift, and as gift that cannot be taken back.

Those who know that they are blessed, then, are able to be a non-anxious presence in times of crisis.

They are able to respond to the present pandemic, taking responsibility for themselves and for others, without panic. And so to provide shelter and sustenance for others.

Who will you look out for today? And who will you look to, in order to draw deeply on life?

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