Wednesday 25 March 2020

On Being Overwhelmed

The below is an extract from an email sent to my local church.

It was Harold Wilson who allegedly said that ‘a week is a long time in politics’. In these recent momentous days, it looks as if that should be reduced to five minutes!

In the last week, life has been turned upside-down. Work, school, family life, daily routines, leisure activities, including that number one pastime – shopping! – have changed for all of us, almost overnight.

It’s easy to see why our nation is not at ease. You may feel it yourself, or identify it in friends and colleagues, or see it reflected in your social media feeds. As a society, we’re experiencing what some have called ‘multiple overwhelmings’. Whether personally, professionally, or politically, it’s one thing to have a single event that knocks us off our feet; but what if the knocks continue to come thick and fast? Is it any wonder people are confused, anxious, angry, distrustful, and fearful?

In all this, though, shafts of light manage to break through – the neighbours forming WhatsApp groups to support people in their street, the already-exhausted NHS workers coming in for the next shift, the rainbows in windows of houses saying more than the occupants of those homes perhaps know about the commitment of God to his creation.

They all illustrate something of a refusal to be shaped by the prevailing culture, which Christians of all people should understand. Because while some ‘overwhelmings’ wound and crush us, others are life-giving. What would it look like at this time to be overwhelmed by gratitude? Overwhelmed by generosity? Overwhelmed by a passion for justice? Overwhelmed by a desire to see others thrive, even if it comes at our expense?

Given the resources available to us in the gospel, what might we be overwhelmed by today?

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