Holy Week Lockdown 1
Monday 6th April 2020 @ 10:27 am
Holy Week Chaplains Thought for The Day 1. (Recorded, but below is the script used)
… this is the first short thought for the day from your chaplains during this Holy Week – a most unusual and disrupted H.W.
Firstly, I hope you are well and are keeping safe in these strange times. Suitably distanced from but not totally separate from those you love, value, trust and whose input into your life is what helps you keep going … for these are the people we all need in such days. Use your technology platforms well. We had a family quiz last night – 10 different locations, but same laughter, same people, same winners, which was not me!
So yes, people are walking through this scenario in different ways. Some people are experiencing unimaginable grief and loss as loved ones are have died in ways that are deeply upsetting. Some relationships are breaking down with people spending so much unplanned time together – some relationships no doubt have been saved.
It’s a strange and fragmented world this Holy Week, but humanity is coping, is adapting, is showing that deep inside there a flight to survive within us. And hence, even in the face of unimaginable challenge, humans, are stepping up.
I find it interesting, the only real panic I am seeing, is in the world of finance. The system that so many people thought was the only thing they could rely on is creaking at the seams. Economic forecasts are changing weekly. The pandemic is hurting the world financially in four ways says Forbes magazine: supply chains, illness and absence from work, quarantine restrictions which lead to a loss on spending, leading finally to profit loss and thus business closures and job losses. These economic realities are touching every aspect of life, from the supply and demand nightmare for hand gels, right through to international travel. There is not an area of life unimpacted by the money questions in this crisis.
The Gospel reading for today (from John 12) begins with some expensive perfume being poured over the feet of Jesus – while many no doubt watched and raised their eyebrows in consternation or confusion, the disciple Judas watches and says ‘that perfume could have made money for the poor, what a waste’ the text goes on to say, he didn’t say this because he cared about the poor, but rather because he was in charge of the finances, and regularly helped himself to the pot.
The woman’s act was a sign of dedication, beauty and of thankfulness, and it was extravagant – and the money man watching didn’t get it. This perceived lack of regard toward economic value was treacherous to him.
A report several years ago published by Boston College’s Center on Wealth and Philanthropy made interesting reading. The centre had studied the uber rich for several years–households with an average net worth of $78 million. These multimillionaires were asked such questions as .“How would you describe the ultimate goal or deepest aspiration for your life?.” You might be surprised, or you might not, to know that what they found, was that the rich stare into an abyss a bit more starkly than even the rest of us. It seems one of the things the uber rich know is that that an appetite for material indulgence is rarely satisfied.
“No yacht is so super, nor any wine so expensive, that it can soothe the soul or guarantee one’s children won’t grow up to be creeps.” (Leonard Sweet – Methodism)
In our first Gospel of Holy Week, a beautiful action of sacrifice and love takes place, and it’s the money man in the corner who doesn’t get it. Maybe, in the midst of the confusion and grief and loss and all the questions which arise due to the crisis we are currently living through in, maybe, just maybe, there is a chance to take a breath, stand back and ask do we hold our finances, or do they hold us?
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