Have pity on us

March 10, 2020

It has been a  while I wrote about anything remotely spiritual on this blog. I guess conducting a ministry, even on a part-time basis, is a full time job. When you take more from the table than you bring, then keeping up with the commitments to the table take over.

I am of course talking about cooking; and the deep satisfaction I gain and the therapeutic benefits I feel. The whole cookery thing isn’t about pride, posing or growing as a chef, but the joy in my guests’ faces.

Recently there has been a lot of press coverage regarding mental health as well as the Corona pandemic. Both issues are terrifying prospects for the afflicted and for those whom are enjoying reasonable health, for who welcomes illness? Obviously someone who is already experiencing one of the aforementioned conditions.

I must confess I had to google Caroline Flack. Her brand of celebrity was not something I am acquainted with. Nevertheless her story seemed to have been played out in the media and even in her family’s grief it appeared to me that the same media who allegedly bullied her was now reporting a tragedy. The phrase “more faces than the town’s clock” springs to mind.

The statistics are quite shocking when looked into: the sheer number of reported & suspected suffers from a mental illness. It would appear nearly everyone will suffer at some point in their lives. Some will suffer in silence, some will suffer in denial, some will seek help, some will cry for help, whilst others will cure themselves – permanently!

Those who successfully persue the permanent solution will leave behind all manner of pains in their wake. Often people express their disbelief. Wondering if there was something they could have done to avert. A smile is a good place to start. A phone call is another. A text. A coffee. A supper!

Modern society is so self centred that considering others isn’t in the foremost part of our minds. Therefore when the news breaks of someone taking the permanent solution then we are shocked. You may feel I am wrong. That is your opinion and you are entitled to it; however this is mine, and I assume you are interested in it for why else would you be reading thus far?

I recently spoke citing the Gospel according to Luke & the 10 Lepers. Luke was a physician by trade and his style of writing bares testimony to this for it is succinct. The story tells of 10 lepers who beg for a cure. Jesus tells them to go to the priests, and as they walk they are cleansed. Overcome with joy they dash to the nearest temple. All but one; a Samaritan who returns and throws himself at Jesus’s feet offering thanks to God.

A couple of things you have understand to fully appreciate the complexity of this meeting. Firstly, leprosy was at the time a highly contagious incurable disease. Secondly, lepers were cast out, as in persona non gratis and it was illegal for them to enter a town or village and similarly for ‘clean’ towns folk to have any interaction them, so their only option was to form colonies or traveling groups. Thirdly, Samaritans were not classed by the Jews as citizens at all.

It is difficulty to envisage such times today. Should a relative of a leper wish bestow a gift; food or clothing, then the gift would be left away from the town and only collected when the risk of contamination was acceptable. What was recieved was shared; after all whether king or pauper, they were all in their plight together.

In nearly 2000 years how far as human beings have we truly come? We look to the stars. We can communicate across the world. We can hide behind a keyboard and be Ninja Assassins. We can get any thing from any where in next to no time. What an advanced culture we live in!

The facts are shameful! We live in an area where working families are reliant upon Food Banks and Soup Kitchens (thank God for these and the volunteers who man them). Yet I hear of people of means stockpiling items. It is a blessing to be able to buy in bulk and have a store, but when you consider those who are just getting by; living from hand to mouth, who can only afford to buy sufficient ‘toilet paper’ for a week. Surely we have become morally corrupt and culminating in a new level of selfishness.

Do you really need 14 dozen toilet rolls? 4Kg of pasta? Could you think about someone other than you for a week, a day, an hour? The truth is Corona virus kills the weaker elements in society. It is doesn’t care how much money you have or haven’t got. Whether you have 4 or 44 toilet rolls.

2000 years ago, lepers relied upon the generosity of others and whatever they had they shared.

We have come a long way as humans but have gone backwards as humane beings.

It is time to consider our neighbour. Extending the hand of peace and friendship. For the greatest pandemic, the greatest killer isn’t mental health issues or Corona virus, but fear.