The month of March marks a year since the pandemic lockdown arrived and Fleet Street fell silent. Even at night, the street used to bustle with office cleaners and City workers chained to their desks. Slaves to the system.
Marketors’ Chaplain Canon Dr Alison Joyce in her sermon for 7 March, discussed the need for a balance in life and how we have a habit of turning religion into something harsh and moralising. In fact, the bible instructs us to adopt a balance and to escape from servitude. The introduction to the Ten Commandments addresses those newly released from slavery – “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage”. The fourth Commandment reveals “Six days shall you labour, and do all your work. But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God”.
We need an appropriate time of rest and refreshment to function as human beings, body and soul. Our enforced idleness over the last year has though also demonstrated the need for work to keep us balanced.
So what has our pandemic year exposed in society?
- An increasing division between the haves and have-nots
- Emphasised how far the treadmill of work and business was keeping us in chains
- How the decisions of those of us privileged to exercise choices can sometimes enslave others
Lent this year is a strange concept. After all we have been through, it seems not quite right to speak of self-denial. Instead, we should concentrate on contemplation. Particularly, we should think about what it is that keeps us and others enslaved – which will open up to us the true meaning of freedom.
As we emerge into a new post-pandemic future, let us hope it is a better one for all God’s children.
Speaking of that future, Alison revealed the planned reopening of St Bride’s. We shall all be able to attend services in Church starting on Palm Sunday, 28 March. Full Holy Week worship is anticipated, including Eucharist on Maundy Thursday. For full details, please view the St Bride’s website.