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With you in Spirit
Monday 22nd June 2020 @ 12:08 pm

The reflection below was recently, aired on RTE 'With You In Spirit' ...

Hello, my name is Julian Hamilton, and I am a Methodist Minister, and a chaplain to Trinity College, Dublin.

'The times they are a changinh.'

You have probably heard that said countess times over the last few months.

Goodness knows you have probably said it yourself a dozen times or more.


Yes - the times they are a changing.


Every particle of your being knows this.

Your household knows this

Your neighbours know this

Your pets know this

I live and work in Trinity College in Dublin - and the animals inside the campus know this!


My favourite writer and ex-Trinity student, Oscar Wilde, wrote,

To regret ones own experiences is to arrest ones own development.

To deny ones own experiences is to put a lie in the lips of ones own life.


Our experiences friends, in these 'times that are a changing' have been

wide and varied,

plentiful and packed.

Some of you have been in the middle of incredible learning and progress,

achieving more than you thought possible.

Some of you have experienced pain and sorrow,

the likes of which you never wish to see again.


Generations living in our beautiful country right now, have not seen the like of this before, and consequently,

listen to this, this bit is important,

we have not lived through these experiences before.

Again ...

Because we have not lived these experiences before.

we have not lived through these experiences before.


How should we reflect

on all that has happened,

is happening,

and most importantly,

can happen next?


We do not know what it's like to come out the other side of a global pandemic,

these generations in Ireland do not know how to rebuild hope in the midst of multiple unnecessary deaths,

social division,

seeing others in the street as a pariah,

a disease,

a potential threat to my way of life

We in Ireland have not come through all of the above alongside deep financial hardships that impact the economy for years


hang on ...


Of course we have.

We have faced violent social division and suspicion on this island.

We have at times killed each other in the name of difference,

We have come through tough economic realities

We have,

at our best,

held hands over barricades,

created agreement with those who at one time would kill us

We have

challenged racism

offered space to the immigrant

led the way in issues of equality and justice,

diversity and inclusion.

We have

at our best, to use biblical language,

cared for the widow and the orphan.


This island has at times witnessed an enlarging of who we can be.


Look around the world - we have a global diaspora influencing nearly every area of life.

We have Olympic gold medalists,

nobel prize winners,

globally acclaimed authors, poets, singers and scientists.

We have witnessed the entire world turn green on one day of the year,

every year.

And we have, in these last months,

discovered that although we may be socially distanced,

we do not have to be, socially distant.


I choose in these days to believe that this island can do it again.


My faith, sitting within the JudeoChristian tradition,

pushes me to acknowledge the mysterious whispers of the Spirit of God in all things.

A God, who in my tradition, is ultimately above and beyond any language or thought that is used to describe him.

Or her.

God, to be God, must always just beyond us


And yet ...

Two weeks into lockdown, my 91 year old almost deaf and blind father,

turned to me over the lunch table and said,

"Can you find me a book on your magic box?"

He meant my iphone.

I asked him for more info.

He told me, mum read me an article from the paper, about a professor ...

"I can't remember his name - he's a scientist - and he has written a book about God and coronavirus?"

"OK - any more info?"


"I think it was called, Where is God in a coronavirus world?"

"OK - I'll see what I can do."

More silence

"I think its only about 60 pages long."

More silence.

"Y'know, if I was to write a book about where is God in the midst of coronavirus, Id only need one page. With one word."


"Well go on!?" I pushed.




May that be your experience.

An experience beyond words and rational understanding,

that affirms in the midst of 'these times that are a changing'

the Divine Mystery of Life and Love among us,

inviting us forward

to something more than what has been.

More forgiving

More fair

More honest

More joyful


More loving.


May that be your experience.


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