As we move out of lockdown anxieties afflict many of us. The real hardships are likely to strike now when furlough schemes end, government grants seize up and those who have used their savings to offset lack of earnings, often for very basic needs like mortgage repayments, utility bills, insurance and even food, find themselves without a job to return to. And even if we ourselves have managed to cope without too much distress apart from the isolation that lockdown has created, each of us knows some person, some family who will struggle and for whom the outlook is not bright.
The idea that we are all in this together has proved to be a fiction. If you have a garden the quality of your life throughout the last few months will have been a luxury in comparison to those who live in high rise flats and if you`re black or Asian and work in a hospital or a care home, your chances of being infected by the virus have been infinitely greater. Some of us have saved money during this time and now have more to spend. Some of us have dug deep into savings with little expectation of future employment.
Something needs to be addressed here.
You don`t have to be religious to understand the moral imperative of caring for others and wanting a fairer world. The old maxim holds good: `There`s enough for everyone`s need, not for everyone`s greed.` And in our Christian tradition both Testaments –the old and the new, shout loud about that moral imperative. You don`t have to be religious to feel the moral imperative of the well known story, part of our cultural inheritance, of the Good Samaritan who didn`t pass by on the other side when he came across a man badly beaten. Instead he bandaged his wounds, took him to an inn, gave money to the innkeeper and left instructions that he should be cared for.
Does it remind you of the white man, bleeding and badly injured, being carried to safety on the back of a Black Lives Matter protestor recently?
You don`t have to be religious to hear the words ringing in your ears from the Old Testament prophet Amos, intoned passionately by Martin Luther King in support of black lives – `Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.`
Don`t let`s hurry to get back to normal. Let`s really think about how we can be more compassionate and caring in a fractured world where latterly we have seen much kindness but know that fairness and justice are not within easy reach for many people.