Barry Parish Church

23rd April 2020

Look To The Healers



These are incredible days filled with darkness and with light, with hope and despair, with predictability and surprise. They are days in which we can, in one moment, take hold of our professional competence and, in the next, realise that nothing could have prepared us for ministry in such times and that there is nothing in our metaphorical toolkit that will see us through. And, in this season after Easter, it’s possible that we can identify with the roller coaster on which the disciples seem to ride - those heady days of occasionally glimpsing hope and joy and those plummeting days of recognising that still they could not comprehend. Those restorative moments when it seemed they had a place in the mission of God and the arresting times when they went into processing overload and had no idea which piece of string to attempt to unravel first.
We see it in all the different ways our colleagues react - from those who gleefully put into practice their technology expertise or who enable the folk who can, to those who are paralysed by observing the Herculean efforts of others. We witness those who are nimble and adaptive alongside those who are more sluggish and reactive. We are in awe of those with energy to implement a dozen new ideas before breakfast and empathise with those who simply don’t know where to start or what to tackle first, whose elephant simply won’t be decent enough to divide into bite sized pieces that they might tackle. And, of course, some of us are even managing to be all of these caricatures in any given moment or day.
When all our normal defences, the apparatus of our work, is taken from us, as it has been, to what do we resort?
Richard Holloway very helpfully describes something of the confusion that was embraced 40 years ago when AIDS was emerging as a global challenge, describing how it brought out the best and the worst in folks and exhorts us, in the words of Camus to “strive to be healers”.
It may not be within our gift is to determine, how our communities of faith and the communities we serve will emerge from this pandemic. We are, however, in a position to model love and vulnerability, exploration and commitment. We can share our wondering and our uncertainties as well as our faith in a God who majors in resurrection.
None of us would have chosen this way of cultural renewal and it is not simply opportunistic to recognise that, in time, we might emerge with wisdom and strength, with greater faith and hope. However, that is not, for now, our focus. Our task is not yet to attempt to make sense, to establish a new normal or to attempt to tidy things up. Rather, in the midst of trauma, while clinging precariously to the roller coaster ride of these days we could do much worse than “strive our utmost to be healers”.

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