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So, in a few weeks, months, year or maybe even decades when we look back upon the year of 2020, what will we remember? Will it be a case of us remembering that a flu-like virus brought the world to a standstill? Will the future generations learn about it in school like they learned of the Plague in this current generation?
Will it be noted that we as humans had apparently lost the concept of basic hygiene? -washing our hands after we do things. Well, let us hope it is not remembered for something like that!
Let us remember for years and even decades the leaders of the world sat around tables discussing the impact we as humans have on our environment. But all these discussions ended up being were just discussions, with no real action taken. Why? – because each one had their own hidden agenda, thinking only about what was best for them and not what was best for the planet. All talk and no action.
Mother Nature had to step in herself and push the reset button. It does not need eco warriors to save the world, but rather each one of us to play our part. Maybe we will remember 2020 as the time where the balance between death and birth rates were reset as the impact of our growth had become too heavy for Mother Nature to support.
This may well be remembered as the time when we had to isolate ourselves from friends and family because we did not want to spread the virus. Because of that isolation, we have been missing that quality time spent face to face with each other. Perhaps this will teach people, however, to reconnect with people and learn to talk to each other again. Maybe this will teach us to spend time with our loved ones now, not waiting until they have died to say, ‘if only I had spent more time with them.’ Maybe this is our opportunity to celebrate life now, and not create shrines to our loved ones when they die.
Technology has been wonderful during these times, showing us ways of connecting to people when we can’t see them face to face. It has shown businesses that there is no need for people to be driving all over just so they can be in an office, or a meeting. It has shown us that many people can work from home – and that does help us with family /work balance so we can spend time with the people that are dearest to us.
There are so many opportunities right now for us to spend that quality time with our families. Parents can teach their kids to cook from scratch and teach them about healthy eating. We can plan meals and shop for only what we need instead of being driven by a consumer society. The opportunity to go for walks together is fantastic. We can teach our kids life skills, so that they will not make the same mistakes our generation has made.
Technology can be used really positively, as we are seeing at this present time. It’s a way to connect with people, research useful things and help to ease the physical isolation we’re facing. We need to take the positives and let our grip loosen on the negatives. Maybe one of the biggest things we will remember about 2020 is that God can bring good out of every situation.
Lessons To Learn
When we look back on 2020, I think there will be important lessons for us all to learn:
Respect people from all walks of life – the ‘key workers’ may have been looked down on in the past, but if this teaches us anything, it’s the importance of everyone’s roles and jobs in a society which needs us all. Maybe this will stop us taking people for granted and really learn to value everyone. God’s word tells us that ‘you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.’ (1 Cor 12:27) We as Christians already know that we all have different parts to play in the body of Christ and we should respect each other at all times; maybe now we can see that in every area of our society and get a more balanced view of work (including pay!)
Re-evaluate our priorities in every area of life. That means valuing our relationships more and learning to look after each other with tenderness and compassion. Ephesians 4:32 says, ‘Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’ 2020 may well be remembered for the panic buying and the greed and selfishness of people, but let’s pray it will also be remembered for the kindness and compassion of people to each other. There are people who need our help every day – maybe this will be remembered as the time when neighbours re-connected and the elderly were cared for, as God wants us to do every day. Maybe as a church, this will be the time when we really learned to connect with each other outside of our church building, because we couldn’t meet inside it!
Learn the importance of eternal priorities. We’ve become a society where a whole generation seems to want to be a celebrity or a famous person. May this be the time when people understand the value of hard work and think about priorities from an eternal perspective. Paul says, ‘I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.’ (Romans 8:17) We need to see life through God’s eyes and let go of our selfishness and short-termism.
So, when we look back, let us remember that every now and again we need to push the reset button. Countries and world leaders can work together towards a common goal. We each have a role to play in the preservation of the planet for future generations. And for now, in the middle of it all, we can spend quality time with people, looking after each other, talking to each other, using technology wisely and most of all re-establishing the rhythms of life that God wants us to have.