2020 has been a strange year for people of all ages. Unable to visit friends and relatives during lockdown, a great deal of time has been spent on social media or talking to relatives and friends via video links. The internet has been used for work, education, church meetings and day to day activities. For the young the use of technology represents a way of life but for the elderly it can add another layer of complexity in a changing world. With so many shops refusing to take cash and many expecting orders to be placed via the internet it has been a difficult time for those who live alone and have no family nearby.
At the beginning of lockdown there were shortages of basic goods because people had selfishly stockpiled items they thought might become scarce. It’s so easy to view life’s problems from our own point of view without considering the difficulties that others are experiencing. The lyrics of the song most associated with Frank Sinatra show how easy it is to do things our way and plan our lives around our own selfish needs. He sang
‘I planned each charted course
each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way.’
Yet there have been many heartening stories of people helping each other, delivering food, raising money for the NHS and working together to support those in need. They have chosen a way of life which is less self-centred and more selfless. Troubled times can bring out the best or the worst in any of us.
We know from reading the Bible that the early Christians faced difficult times and tried to work together to help each other. The early followers of Christ referred to themselves as followers of the Way because Jesus had said ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’ (John 14 v 6). Following the example set by Jesus became a way of life for the disciples as they remembered the two commandments he gave them. Jesus said,
‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: you shall love your neighbour as yourself.’
Covid-19 has highlighted both the selfish and unselfish aspects of human nature as shown in the actions of individuals and political leaders. Although our lives have changed and restrictions may sometimes seem irksome we can help each other through the difficult times. As Jesus explained, in the parable of the Good Samaritan, helping others who are in need should be part of our way of life.