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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

8 April 2020: Sylvia Roberts, St Peter's Church, Petersfield

A date to remember

Here we all are isolated at home in a way we could never have imagined even three months ago. I have a question for you. Try this if you are at home alone or if you have others in the house try it out on them one by one. What memorable dates can you remember from history? The more dates you can remember and assign to the events of that year the more points you gain. No reference books or Google assistance allowed.

I tried this out on my husband. He started with 1066 – Battle of Hastings and went on to 1666 - Great Fire of London; 1805 - Battle of Trafalgar, 1815 – Battle of Waterloo; 1914 – 18 - First World War; 1939 – 1945 Second World war. As you can see he has been a soldier and battles fix themselves into his memory. Your list may be a little different or considerably different but I can almost guarantee that for several hundred years to come the date 2020 will be indelibly stamped on memory. But how will we label it?

I guess it depends on many factors – not least the outcome and the aftermath of this strange, unique, 366 days. This week people of faith are moving through each day prayerfully and steadily, approaching the high festival of Easter, together, though apart, believing God to have “the whole world in his hands.” Believing that a God willing to be totally immersed in humanity’s suffering lot, wishes this blue-green sphere nothing but good on a cosmic scale.

Bill Gates is reported as already seeing 2020 as “The year of the great correction” after sleepwalking for decades into deforestation, melting ice caps and polluted waters. As long ago as 2008, Simon Jenkins of the National Trust foresaw that our planet, or the “Good Ship Gaia” as he calls it would traumatise its passengers into husbanding its precious resources. So here is the trauma. So much stripped away from us. It couldn’t be starker. What is really, really important? We have time now for reflection.


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