Reflection on Love
Scripture: Genesis 2:18; Leviticus 19:18; Ephesians 4:2; 1Peter 4:8; Romans 13:8.
Social distancing at present seems to be here to stay. I have to say when I have done my one hour of daily exercise by walking the dogs up in the nature reserve, that people are generally very good at staying apart. Even children I’ve met have had it drummed into them they should not stroke the dogs (not that they’ve got Corona, or can even get it) and move aside to let people pass at a distance – I wonder how they’ll cope when this is all over. Will children be wary of going near or even cuddling adults, particularly relatives who they have not seen for some time? And how has this all impacted on those who are already lonely?
It’s strange how a pandemic such as this makes us notice things in different ways and see things more clearly. God created us to be in relationship with one another, to love each other, but we have always had lonely and vulnerable people living amongst us, and yet only now have we begun to notice them.
Loneliness is one of the most painful experiences for human beings to go through. God created us and tells us several times in the Bible we are made for community, that our natural state is to be in relationship: to belong. We belong to God, we belong to creation, we belong to one another. But to understand we belong we need to be noticed, people need to spend time with us and we need to be loved.
I thank God that many of our previously lonely neighbours have experienced some of this neighbourly love during this virus, but we must vow to continue this once this pandemic is over. There must be nothing worse than finding company in the midst of a crisis, only for it to disappear again when things get back to normal, whatever that ‘new normal’ will look like.
This new sense of community which has emerged should not be lost, it is a gift we must nurture as we move to healthier times. Let’s continue to love our neighbour.