© St Ninians Episcopal Church, Glasgow which is a charity registered under no.SC010966
Rector writes We live in strange times. Covid-19 and the lock-down has produced a lot of unintended consequences – a lot bad, to be sure, but many illuminating. I have taken to walking in a way I never did before Covid-19 visited us with its malign presence. I am noticing for the first time, things that have always been there. I saw a squirrel protecting its territory in one of the rectory trees. I met neighbours I have never met particularly at the communal gatherings (safely distanced, of course) that are the Thursday evening 8pm hurrahs for the NHS. I have noted new buds and new trees; bird song and the absence of traffic noise. The list goes on. I have noticed things about myself, my likes and dislikes, and the petty irritations of lock-down life. I have noted the carefully choreographed quadrille that is the new norm of how to pass people in the street. I have noted all the kids’ drawings in the tenement windows and muse on the enduring potency of the symbol that is the rainbow. I have noticed the way strangers now greet each other with a ‘hello’ as they pass each other. We value things more when we pay closer attention to them. The pandemic has forced us into a new perspective of observation and appreciation. It is indeed a mixed blessing for with this observation has come a great deal to alarm us about the response of government and its dealing with this existential threat to our society. Equally, there are many examples of the kind of open and generous giving exemplified in countless acts of self-sacrifice; from the front lines of the battle to the casual kindness of the teenager in helping the old person next door. Major Tom hit upon a golden treasury of generosity and little did he know it when he took his first faltering and zimmer-aided steps towards his marathon walk. This is a time to acknowledge that far too often have we become absorbed, seeing only one way and seeing only certain people. We display a sort of perspective myopia and the lens we use to see this world is often the lens of narrowness and maintains us in our sense of worth. I, as you know, wear spectacles and have done so since childhood. If I remove them the world I perceive becomes altogether different. Everything becomes fuzzy-edged and no longer are there crisp and clear boundaries and shapes. I need to have those lenses to enable my eyes to appreciate once more what is before me. As the years go by I need to visit my optician so I might update those lenses so as to keep the world in its sharp focus. What pertains to the physical world equally pertains to our spiritual life. To each age and to each person comes a cataclysm: a life-changing challenge. Covid-19 presents such an occasion both for societal challenge and for personal re-evaluation. The dread sense of one’s impending mortality sharpens the mind and soul like no other. Yes, we will come out of this crisis and, God willing, the majority of us will be spared. Are matters, however, to remain the same? There can and will be no returning to “normal”. The “normal” of yesterday is not the “normal” of tomorrow. There is no returning because history never travels backwards. History only ever travels forward. We are already beyond a point where there could be a turning of the clocks back to five minutes before Covid-19 was identified. This presents us with many as yet unresolved problems. How we are to relate to our family and friends is but a microcosm of how Scottish society might require to be transformed as we live with our new reality. I find great comfort in the fact that we are innately ingenious as a species. We have a special talent for working out answers to complex problems. We have survived through many a calamity in the history of humankind and we are still here. We are survivors and adaptors. We will survive and we will adapt. May God bless you in your endeavours to adapt and adjust to what the future will bring. The Rector