Thought for the Day : Wednesday 4 November

Thought for the Day by Clive Barrett (St Michael’s)

Readings: Daniel 2:25-49 and Revelation 2:12-29

Hope Trumps Lockdown

Momentous times.

The last day before lockdown and we wake to headlines about Donald Trump; a big day in the U.S. with impact far and wide.

We face our own immediate fears:

  • the fear of Covid, of scary long-Covid, of passing it on to people we love
  • the fear of lockdown, isolation, stress over jobs, money, food
  • and a long-term niggle that governments must not get used to such rules.

It is hard to describe in normal words. Poetry might do it. Or apocalyptic – visions, fantastic imagery and coded messages. Like the books of Daniel and Revelation.

Both speak of oppressive empires.

For Christians in late 1st century CE Roman Empire, avoiding “fornication” meant resisting seduction by the dominant culture (Revelation 2).

In the 2nd century BCE Seleucid (Syrian/Greek) Empire, the compiler of Daniel narratives used gold, silver, bronze, and iron imagery to describe fallen empires, and the derring-do of mythical heroes in Babylon 400 years earlier. The hidden message? – the current regime, supposedly iron but actually part clay, would crumble in its turn. Like old-time heroes, readers should keep trusting God. Faced with any oppression, trust in God.

There is a hint of hope. Oppressions end. From God’s perspective, oppressors – even biological oppressors like Covid – always end.

Covid is like an empire; it oppresses and terrifies, but its days are numbered. The irony of imposed isolation is that public resolve, in the interests of public health, will bring the oppressor down. A Christian community has special resources: our faith, our trust in God. Our communal resolve is rooted in hope, hope of a better order, a kingdom without end, the Kingdom of God.

Hope trumps lockdown. Covid will end. Daniel and Revelation agree. This will be over. Trust in God.

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